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Maryland's Top Girls Compete

Francis Scott Key crowned champions Ava Rupp (120), Jordan Defebo (130), Keira Cooper 135), Emily Arboleda (190) among its tournament-high seven finalists, but the host Eagles fell to Carroll County rival Winters Mill in their dual meet of their holiday tournament on Friday.

Winters Mill crowned three champions in Carli Ireland (100), Gabbie McLeod (155) and Jade Love (235), while Smithsburg had two in Rileigh Romberger (115) and Emmie Mentzer (110).

"The team race came down to the final bout, where Love of Winters Mill secured the pin," according to Manchester Valley boys’ coach David Dodson. "That propelled Winters Mill ahead of Francis Scott Key, which had been leading all day long."

Other champions were Jules Oxenberg (105) of Atholton, Bella Garrity (125) of South Carroll, Amelia Mikus (140) of Boonsboro, Daisy Rojas (145) of LaPlata, and Miamore Davis (170) of Milford Mill, Mikus was named Outstanding Wrestler for winning a clash of state champions by fall in 3:18 over Taylor Meade of Westminster.

Other highlights included a 50-second pin by fourth-place state finisher Garrity over two-time state place-winner Caroline McCann of Westminster, and fourth-place state finisher Rojas scoring a fall in 3:08 over state runner-up Addie Kraics of Francis Scott Key.

Who’s No. 1?

Northeast High of Anne Arundel County will be the site of the second-annual Who's No. 1 All-Girls Tournament on January 5-6, according to Eagles' coach Chris Dyke.

"There will be 46 teams," said Dyke, a 2003 Northeast graduate who won two each of county and regional crowns and placed third and fourth at states. "There will be double-elimination brackets run on"

Faith Day to 'focus on one match at a time'

Manchester Valley senior all-girls state champion Faith Day will take a record of 4-1 (three pins) into her first appearance at the Who's No. 1 tournament.

"My season is going well. I'm working hard because I know that the competition will only get tougher as the season goes on," said Day, the daughter of a former state champion and the granddaughter of a nationally recognized coach. "My perspective never changes when I enter a tournament. I always prepare like I'm going to be facing the best girls in the state. There are a lot of tough girls out there who are very hungry."

Day went 4-0 with three pins at 100 pounds to win states last year, including a championship bout fall in 5:02 over Arundel senior Josie Langtry to improve to 21-0 on the year. Day’s father, Greg, was a state champion at Westminster High in 1986, and her grandfather, Jack, is a National Hall of Fame coach.

Greg Day is an assistant to Mavericks' coach Rob Pearre.

"Faith's one loss was to a boy from Westminster," said Greg Day of Faith, who competes at 106 pounds when wrestling boys. "Faith volunteered to fill in for a wrestler who didn't make weight. She got the takedown, but she lost the match."

Faith is up to the challenge of the Who's No. 1 tournament, where she anticipates a weight class featuring as many as 16 girls in her bracket.

"The most important thing to me is that I do my best and allow things to hopefully fall into place," Faith Day said. "As far as becoming a returning state champion, I don't think about that. I try to focus on one match at a time."

Northern-Calvert juniors Emma Hardeman (125) and Emily Boling (235) are among those expected to participate at Who’s No. 1.

An all-girls state champion in 2022, Hardeman is 1-0 against girls and 5-4 overall. Boling is 2-0 against girls and 3-3 overall.

"Both are juniors," Patriots coach Cam Watkins said. "They will be state champs this year."

Arundel senior Jada Chaves is 15-4 with seven pins at 106 pounds, where she is ranked 17th among boys by Legacy Wrestling.

A state champion as a sophomore who placed fifth against boys in last year's Anne Arundel County tournament, Chaves finished third at girls' states last season and most recently went 6-2 at the December 28-29 South River Duals tournament.

Randallstown's Ugochi Anunobi heads to Olympic Training Center

Randallstown senior two-time all-girls state champion Ugochi Anunobi (170) will miss the Who's No. 1 tournament thanks to a training invitation to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

"I will be out of town for a training camp at the Olympic Training Center. I was invited by Jessica Medina along with other junior national placers in my age group division," said Ugochi, 17, who is 8-1 on the year with five pins and three major decisions and an exemplary 52-1 for her career. "Jessica Medina is a member of Team USA and the head women's wrestling coach for Ferrum College [in Ferrum, Virginia.] I'll be at the camp for four days. I'm really grateful and excited to have been given this opportunity to train with some of the best girls in the country."

Anunobi, 17, began her final season impressively, pinning all three of her 170-pound rivals to win the Milford Mill’s Ken Berlett Sr. Fall Classic on December 8-9. Anunobi flattened her rivals in 33 seconds, 2:47 and 55 seconds.

Anunobi earned her initial title as a sophomore at the all-girls state championships at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro by completing an 11-0 season at 155 pounds, this, despite having to overcome an injury to her left shoulder.

Ugochi finished her junior year with a mark of 30-0 that included being 3-0 (all pins) against boys. She earned her state championship victory with a 7-4 decision over previously unbeaten Azariyah Johnson (15-1) of Stephen Decatur, this, after reaching the finals on pins in 27 and 32 seconds before winning her semifinal bout by 16-1 technical fall.

"This year I lost to Lansdowne's 165-pounder, Chase Swiger," Anunobi said. "It wasn't my finest match, but I held my own fairly well."

Ugochi wants to pursue wrestling beyond high school, having begun to narrow her college choices to programs which have established programs for females while also being able to address her academic interests.

"I haven't really started looking at too many new schools, but a few have reached out to me," Anunobi said. "I'm doing as much research as possible and taking my visits so I can be certain of where I can see myself succeeding to the maximum of my abilities."

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