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Randallstown’s Ugochi Anunobi Seeking Third State Title



Randallstown senior Ugochi Anunobi made a strong statement on Saturday regarding her intentions of earning her third straight all-girls state title, pinning all three of her 170-pound rivals to win the Milford Mill’s Ken Berlett Sr. Fall Classic.


Coached by Ernest Davison, Anunobi flattened her rivals in 33 seconds, 2:47 and 55 seconds. Anunobi finished off Franklin’s Yury Guardado in Saturday’s championship bout, improving to 3-0 on the year and an exemplary 47-0 over the course of her three seasons on the mat.


“I know that I’ve achieved a lot as a wrestler at Randallstown and everyone holds me to a higher standard,” said Ugochi, 17, who is nicknamed “Chi.” “I don’t really work out as much as people might think. The only workouts I do are the after-school wrestling practices. I don’t have a lifting routine or anything. I’ve just always kind of been naturally muscular.”

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.


Last year’s event was the fifth since the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association held its inaugural all-girls state wrestling tournament at Northeast High in February 2018.


A former sprinter in indoor track, Anunobi gave up indoor track for the mats.


“I ran track and field up until my sophomore year of high school, doing the 100 and the 200 and the shot put and discus. I was good at all but the 200, where I don’t think I was that great at. I actually wanted to go out for wrestling as a freshman, but since Covid-19 was still around, I wasn’t able to,” said Ugochi.


“I really wanted to start wrestling because my two older brothers and I used to watch WWE and we would practice and the moves on one another. I was so excited to wrestle when I got to high school, but then I realized it was nothing like WWE. I stuck with it though because I liked my coaches, my teammates, and it turns out I’m pretty good at it. Now I’m a two-time state champ, and I’ve got one more year to terrorize the Maryland girls.”


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’ve been looking at schools and I’m trying to figure out which of them would best suit me, and I have my top three that I’m looking at,” said Ugochi, an A student with designs on being a physical therapist.


“My undergraduate degree would probably be in exercise science, and then I may take a year off and return to get my Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy. My parents will always back me and support me, so I want to be somewhere where I’m pushed to succeed and where I have a consistent practice partner who can push me.”


Ken Berlett’s other champions

Oakdale’s Charvi Betha (105), Woodlawn’s Nysia Reid (125), Patapsco’s Gianna Guarnera (145) and Digital Harbor’s Sukanya Stoute (285) were the other champions at Milford Mill.

Betha pinned twice in three victories, using an 8-0 major decision over Franklin’s Dylan Hurd to win her championship bout.


Reid had successive pins in 52, 48 and 23 seconds, Guarnera registered falls in 48 and 25 seconds before pinning her title bout rival in 2:51, and Stoute decked her two opponents in 2:44 and 2:26.


Queen Anne’s Wins Maverick Duals

Senior captain Delaney Gray pinned all four of her 135-pound opponents, junior 190-pound teammate Kaylynn Bryant went unbeaten in four bouts with two falls, and sophomore 130-pounder Bree Conard decked two opponents in three victories without a loss as Queen Anne's won the third-annual Maverick Girls Duals at Manchester Valley High on Saturday.

"It makes me so proud of all the girls and how hard they have worked so far this year," Gray said. "This tournament was a great first step. I am really excited to see how we do the rest of the season."


Lions' junior 110-pound team captain Ally Conley finished at 3-1 with three pins, her lone defeat coming against fellow state champion Faith Day, of the home team Mavericks. Junior 125-pounder Ava Price also finished at 3-1 with three falls.


Senior team captain Julia Reburn (140) and sophomores Morgan Morris (155) and Addie Dickens (170) all finished at 2-2 with two pins. Freshman Bevyn Branham (115) also finished at 2-2, with a fall in the final bout of the match clinching the Lions' dual meet victory over Winters Mill and first place in the tournament.


Lions' freshmen Celeste Molina (105) and Annalise Michael (100) each won two of four bouts, the latter with one fall. Their sophomore teammate, Linda Vail (130), split a pair of bouts, pinning one opponent.


"With the confidence from the tournament, I am excited to see how they approach practice this week," said coach John Waters, an assistant to David Stricker and a former state champion for the Lions. "These girls have been putting in a lot of hard work in the practice room and this weekend they got to see it pay off."


Day went 4-0, in the Mavericks Duals, earning a major decision over Conley to go with falls against La Plata, Smithsburg and Winters Mill.


Nearly a year ago at states, Day also went 4-0 with three pins at 100 pounds to win the crown, including a championship bout fall in 5:02 over Arundel senior Josie Langtry to improve to 21-0 on the year.


A wrestling legacy, Day has been on the wrestling mats since childhood, being the daughter of a former state champion and the granddaughter of a nationally recognized coach.

Day’s father, Greg, was a state champion at Westminster High in 1986, and her grandfather, Jack, is a National Hall of Fame coach. Day also sang the National Anthem before the state finals began.


"I am pretty sure this is the only dual meet style tournament for girls in the state of Maryland," said David Dodson, the Mavericks' head coach. "The goal is to build this into the premier dual meet tournament in the state. It has been baby steps, but every year it has grown."


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