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PASADENA — Wheaton High School senior Constance Nwaigwe (100 pounds) and James H. Blake High senior Isabella Pineda (144) earned their second straight titles, and Walt Whitman High junior Stephanie Solloso (127) improved on last year’s runner-up finish with her crown in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s second annual girls’ invitational folk-style wrestling tournament at Northeast High School in Anne Arundel County on Feb. 2.
“There was more pressure since I won it last year,” said Nwaigwe, 17, a third-year wrestler. “Everyone expected me to do it again this year. So that was a bar that was set pretty high, and I was able to reach it once again.”
In all, eight county representatives finished in the top four of their respective weight classes, with Albert Einstein High sophomore Zoe Alexander (100), Northwest High junior Kiersten Madoo (144) and Northwood High senior Rebecca Marchesi (Hwt.) finishing second; Watkins Mill High sophomore Seda Tsarni (144), third, and Quince Orchard High junior Sarah Mesri (161), fourth.
Nwaigwe registered falls in 33 and 36 seconds of her quarterfinal and semifinal bouts before getting a pin in 3:11 of her championship match with Alexander, who reached the finals on a pair of pins.
“I feel like being a two-time champion hasn’t really hit me yet,” said Nwaigwe, who is 11-11 on the Knights’ varsity team of coach Kolawole Marville, having wrestled at as high as 113 pounds. “I’m still going about my life and everything is just moving along. But I am very grateful that this tournament has come along during my high school tenure.”
Pineda also flattened all three of her opponents — composed of an 80-second fall in her quarterfinal, a semifinal pin at the six-minute mark against Tsarni, and one in 1:44 over Madoo in their title bout. Neither Pinedia nor coach Rasheim Smith could be reached for comment.
Solloso won her semifinal by injury default before planting senior Brooke Markell of Baltimore County’s Kenwood High in 2:38 of their championship bout.
“Last year I wrestled four or five matches, and it was a lot harder for me. In the finals, the girl I was wrestling had a great headlock, and she kept throwing it. I would get out of it, and then, she would go back to it, so it was a very difficult match,” said Solloso, who missed much of this season because a concussion.
“I was out for about a month, but on Friday, I went to the house of a friend who is on the team with me who has a wrestling mat in his house, and we went over some things, and it worked out for me. I want to come back next year and be a three-time finalist, and hopefully win it again.”
Northwest junior Maggie Palmore was among the county’s six individual champions from last season, earning that crown with four first-period pins at 122 pounds.
Palmore later earned high school All-American honors with her third-place finish at 122 pounds in the July 12-20 Cadet Nationals Tournament at The Fargodome on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.
But as a team captain for the Jaguars, Palmore elected to participate in her squad’s 52-18 victory over Quince Orchard on Feb.2, during which the junior registered a first-period pin at 132 pounds.
“Unfortunately, I was unable to wrestle in girls’ states because my high school team had an important dual meet today during the same time,” said Palmore. “It was a difficult decision, but as one of the captains, I believe it was my duty to be here and wrestle for my high school team.”
In the Feb. 2 Interstate Athletic Conference championship at St. Stephens & St Agnes High in Alexandria, Virginia, Bullis (176.5 points), Landon (173) and Georgetown Prep (130) finished first, second and third, with the Bulldogs dethroning the runner-up Bears.
The Bulldogs earned their first conference championship in 15 years, according to assistant coach Chris Brown.
“We put nine guys in the finals, and we had three champions and two third places, and that was good enough to push us over the top in order to win the championship,” said Brown, an assistant to Ali Elias.
“There were a couple of head-to-head matches with Landon that didn’t go our way, but this is the first time in 15 years that we’ve won a championship, so we’re pretty happy about that. This is a good way to head into the Melee at the Metro at Wilson High next weekend.”
Winning for the Bulldogs were Ethan Rahmell (106), Talion Elliot (113) and Isaa Ruderman (138), with Bazin Sineshaw (126), Liam Handel (145), Canaan Tomlin (152), Austin Brown (182), Caleb Tomlin (220) and Terrell Jackson (285) finishing second, and William Gelb (132) and Aidan McKew (170), third.
Champions for the Bears were Axel Giron (126), Lorenzo Lopez (132), Jonny Gherman (160) and Jelani Machen (182), with Patrick Townsend (120), Matt Amitay (138) and Jerrold Johnson (170) being second, Zac Osmond (106) and Patrick Kielb (145) third, and Max Schermer (152), Dameon Ming (195) and Eric Cao (220), fourth.
Georgetown Prep crowned Kobe Borda (152), Tim Kirlin (170) and Kyonte Hamilton (220), with Clayton Tinsley (113) being second; Grant Maynard (195) and Tristan Furnish (285), third; and Leonard Schweizer (120) and Mateo Aguilar (126) and Declan Keating (145), fourth.