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Queen of the Jungle Tournament

Queen Anne's will play host to the second-annual Queen Of The Jungle Tournament on Saturday featuring 35 teams from Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia and representing 15 different counties in Maryland.

The Lions of coach John Waters and assistant David Stricker welcome teams from Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne's, Prince George's, St. Mary's, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

The Lions are 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the 12-team Bayside Conference, which will feature its inaugural all-girls tournament on February 17 at Stephen Decatur.

“We are just trying to keep pace with the teams in Carroll County. Our girls come to practice everyday with a purpose," said Waters, a Class 4A-3A state champion at 103 pounds as a senior at Queen Anne's in 1996. "The success of this team is inspiring future Queen Anne's wrestlers. We have more and more young girls coming to matches and joining our youth program. Because of this team, they see a future in wrestling at the high school level.”

Among the individual state champions expected to enter are Randallstown’s senior two-time title-winner Ugochi Anunobi (170) and one-time titlists in Southern-Anne Arundel County junior Domencia Gladwell (115), Crofton junior Lexy Pabon (125), Northern junior Emma Hardeman (125) and Queen Anne's junior Ally Conley (105).

Pabon already has won a clash of state champions, 8-7, over Hardeman in the finals of the Who's No. 1 Tournament earlier this month.

"We kind of had a rivalry," said Pabon of Hardeman. "She beat me by a point at states two years ago in the state finals when I was a freshman."

Conley has a record of 9-5 and is joined by freshmen 125-pounders Finley Patchett and Emmy Falcone, junior 125-pounder Ava Price, senior Delaney Gray (130), sophomore Lilly Hammond (145) and junior Kaylynn Bryant (170).

Patchett is 9-1, Price is 9-3, and Falcone is 7-3. Bryant is 10-2 and finished third at the Beast Of The East. Hammond is 8-2 and won the Kent Holiday Tournament.

“It’s the connections and the support,” Hammond said. “All of the people you can look up to for help is something I never thought I would experience when doing wrestling.”

The Lions were champions of the Maverick Duals, where they defeated host Manchester Valley, Francis Scott Key, La Plata and Winters Mill. They also placed fourth at the Beast of East Tournament and boast victories over Walter Johnson, Colonel Richardson and Westminster.

"This season really has done a great job of showing everyone how much our team has grown and accomplished. With all the hard work the team and coaches have put in we are winning tournaments as well as dual meets," said Gray, who has a 9-4 record and placed fourth at the Beast Of The East Tournament. "This is amazing to see not only the progress the team has made over the past three years, but also all the hard work and dedication from every girl on the team has gotten us to where we are. It’s something truly amazing that we have and I hope it continues to grow and reach new goals."

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