The 125 pounder, who hasn't lost a match all season and hasn't given up a single point since the Mission San Jose Invitational on Feb. 4, attempts to make his final mark on the sport this weekend before heading off to college in the fall.
Last Saturday, Prado was the only Freedom Falcon to win a North Coast Section title, the second in his collection. He had never lost to College Park's Blake Nichols in the "five or six times" the two had met up on the mat. He and Nichols went head to head in Saturday's NCS finals, where Prado expected a tough match but didn't get anything close to it. At the 2:59 mark, Prado pinned Nichols to claim the title.
"Last year I was kind of taken aback at NCS. I wasn't really on my game but I still won (the title)," Prado said. "But this year I went out with a set mind. I wanted to send a message that I was ready. After the second takedown I knew I wouldn't lose. I was in complete control right up until I pinned him."
At this weekend's state meet, Prado expects the competition will be the toughest he's seen all year. But he's peaking at the right time and is physically in his best shape ever.
"I got a pretty clean draw to the quarterfinals," he said. "I'm feeling very confident. I'm so much stronger right now than I was at the beginning of the season or even in the middle of the season. I've put on at least three pounds of muscle since then."
Over the past four years Prado has learned how to quell the inevitable nerves. But one thing still remains: his unending drive to be the best.
"The nerves are gone but the pressure rises as I get to this point in the season," he said. "There's a lot at stake."
As Prado makes his last appearance at the state meet, sophomore sensation Nick Waldrop is making his first. After beating Andrew Tsarnes of Healdsburg by technical fall in the NCS semifinals, Waldrop lost 12-6 to Colin Malcom of James Logan in the finals to place second.
"Malcom hasn't wrestled in a while and his conditioning was really poor, but he wrestled smart. He played the stalling game, waiting for Nick to make a mistake," said Freedom coach John Parsons. "Nick was pretty disappointed, but he had a great tournament. He did extremely well."
The Falcons placed sixth as a team, bettering last year's performance in which they placed 38th. Dominic Dimurcurio (103) placed fifth while Mike Sherman (130), Joe Cutino (145) and Ken Corbin (171) each placed eighth in their respective divisions.
Prado and Waldrop head south to Bakersfield's Rabobank Arena on Thursday afternoon. The two-day state meet begins Friday morning.