Westminster junior Taylor Mead transitioned to wrestling from the mixed martial arts octagon, Randallstown junior Ugochi Anunobi gave up indoor track for the mats, and Oakland Mills senior Jada Fowler decided to wrestle four years ago at the suggestion of a friend.

Yet another girl, Manchester Valley junior Faith 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.

The foursome were among six locals who earned individual state titles during Saturday’s all-girls tournament at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro.

The 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.

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Earlier that evening South River senior Alexandra Szkotnicki (44-8) established herself as the second-most accomplished female wrestler in Maryland history by placing fourth at 113-pounds while wrestling against boys.

Szkotnicki’s effort came two weeks after defeating Broadneck sophomore Cam Williams, 1-0, to become only the second female to win an Anne Arundel County title, and a week after having placed third at the Class 4A-3A East Region Tournament.

South River senior Alex Szkotnicki (facing) placed fourth at 113 pounds at Saturday's Class 4A-3A state tournament at Show Place Arena to establish herself as the second-most accomplished female wrestler in Maryland history. Szkotnicki's effort came two weeks after becoming only the second girl to win an Anne Arundel County Tournament title and a week after having placed third in her Class 4A-3A East Region Tournament. (Dalin Rodrigues)

“This definitely means a lot. I’m hoping that it inspires other girls to be like, ‘I can compete with the boys, too. I have some really awesome coaches and so many people everywhere helping me to keep my head into the game to prepare for the next match,” said Szkotnicki, who will major in sports psychology at McKendree University in Illinois.

“The most important things that I’ll remember are the memories with my teammates and not just from wrestling. I received a lot of positive feedback from other girls here this weekend, like, ‘good luck, go get ‘em, do your thing…’ I felt confident in the way that I performed and I realize there are some areas to work on that I need to fix.”

Anunobi (170 pounds) improved her record on the year to 30-0 after earning her second straight crown with a 7-4 decision over previously unbeaten Azariyah Johnson (15-1) of Stephen Decatur.

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A former sprinter in indoor track, Ugochi reached the finals on pins in 27 and 32 seconds before winning her semifinal bout by 16-1 technical fall.

Randallstown junior Ugochi Anunobi (top) earned a 7-4 decision over Stephen Decatur's previously undefeated Azariyah Johnson of Stephen Decatur (bottom) at 170 pounds for her second straight state title in Saturday's all-girls tournament at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. (Chris Knapp)

“I had been running indoor track since the sixth grade and I didn’t want to run any more, so this is my second year,” said Anunobi, whose record includes being 3-0 (all pins) against boys.

“I used to watch WWE, so I said, ‘You know, wrestling sounds fun.’ 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.”

Day went 4-0 with three pins at 100 pounds to win the tournament, 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.

“My grandfather was a two-time national champion, and my Dad was a state champion in high school and a two-time Eastern National champion,” said Day, who also sang the National Anthem before the finals began.

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“I did it last year and they asked me to do it again this year. But I wasn’t expecting to make it this far if I’m being completely honest with you. My Dad was the one who really pushed me to make it this far.”

Southern-Anne Arundel County sophomore Domencia Gladwell (115) and Crofton’s Lexy Pabon (125) were among the most dominant in the girls’ states, with each of them pinning all four of their opponents.

Gladwell (22-8) nailed down three of her four pins in the first period and won her semifinal bout by fall in 2:33 over defending state champion Alaina Kopalchick of Perry Hall. Gladwell finished her previously unbeaten title bout opponent, junior Kadence Chau (12-1) of Reservoir in just 37 seconds.

“Overall, I just know I had to go out and get the pin,” said Gladwell, whose assistant coach, Chris Knapp, is the father of Souther’s first-ever female state champion, Ashley Knapp. “She was a state champion [in 2019] and her father, Chris, has been a tremendous support system. All of my coaches have been beside me since the beginning of the season. Being a state champion sounds amazing.”

Southern-Anne Arundel County sophomore Domencia Gladwell (top) pinned all four of her opponents -- including defending champion Alaina Kopalchick of Perry Hall in their semifinal bout -- on the way to earning the all-girls state title at 115 pounds on Saturday at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. (Chris Knapp)

Pabon improved her overall record to 15-4, finishing off with her fall in 2:37 over Rachel Wheatley of Perry Hall, a two-time regional champion who placed fourth at states last year and who entered her title bout with a mark of 12-0 against girls.

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Mead finished Colonel Richardson senior Saleta Nichols in 2:20 to improve her overall record to 16-2 even as she continues to navigate from “rear-naked choke holds” in mixed martial arts to arm bars in wrestling.

“I had been doing MMA – so, Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing and all of that, and I switched schools so I decided to do wrestling this year. The transition is more about learning to separate the two sports from each other,” said Mead, who transferred from Maryvale.

“You have to get it into your mind that for one, you have to stay on your stomach, and the other you can go to your back. It took a little while to make the adjustment, but I would say that I fixed most of that during practice. There were definitely some mistakes during competitions. But I figured that out pretty quickly.”

After pinning her first opponent, Fowler (27-6) overcame eventual third-place finisher, McKinley Jovanovic (11-2) in overtime, 4-2, before winning her semifinal bout, 3-0, over Atholton junior Lilana Giraud. Fowler won her title bout, 4-2, over Eastern Tech sophomore Ariana Carnahan.

“I came out for wrestling as a freshman after a friend of mine was doing it and said, ‘You should really try this sport, I think you’ll like it.’ I came out and learned to love it,” said Fowler, who will major in computer science at Delaware State.

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“I placed fifth my freshman year, there were no states my sophomore year because of Covid, but junior year I placed fifth again and this year, I’m a state champ. I did question myself a lot, at times, but I kept pushing myself and telling myself this is my last year and I have to put everything I’ve got on the table.”

Oakland Mills' Jada Fowler (right) attempts a leg trip to bring Eastern Tech's Ariana Carnahan to the mat during their 120lb. state final match. Fowler won, 4-2.

Szkotknicki went 3-2 on the weekend, including victories by pins in 21 and 73 seconds and by an 11-1 major decision. Szkotnicki lost her semifinal bout, 4-0, to eventual champion Drew Montgomery (40-0) of Northern-Carroll County, and her consolation finals bout, 14-3, to sophomore Cooper Cammarata (35-7) of Tuscarora of Frederick County.

Szkotnicki joined Arundel High’s Nicole Woody (103), who made more history as a senior in 2007 by becoming Maryland’s first girl to win an Anne Arundel County and regional title and to finish as a Class 4A-3A state runner-up.

In March 2006, Montgomery County freshman Helen Maroulis became the first girl to place at the Maryland wrestling championships with a sixth place finish at 112 pounds in the 4A-3A state tournament.

As a Magruder junior in 2009, Maroulis became the first female to reach the finals of both the Montgomery County and Class 4A-3A East Region tournaments and repeated her sixth-place finish at states.

Western Tech’s Jade Hendricks became the first girl to reach the Class 2A-1A state tournament, the same year that Woody did so on the 4A-3A side. But Hendricks went 0-2.

In 2010, Smithsburg senior Monica Hovermale (103) became the first female to place in the Class 2A-1A states and the third female to do so overall, finishing sixth.

A four-time Washington County champ, Hovermale totaled 104 career victories, becoming Maryland’s first female wrestler to surpass 100 wins. Hovermale went 2-2 as a sophomore at states, becoming the first female to win at least a match on the Class 2A-1A side.

“Our conversations after all was said and done wasn’t so much about her performance but ‘Did you have fun?’ Are you happy that you chose to stay over and wrestle coed and wrestle with the guys and do you regret that decision?” said Dana Szkotnicki, Alex’s mother and a former high school and collegiate swimmer.

“She said, ‘absolutely not. This makes me happy. This is where I started and what I wanted to finish.’ She just had fun. It’s been a long journey, but it’s about looking at the journey rather than the match. You’re going to have to wrestle guys if you want to grow and get good at this sport at this point in the state of Maryland, so it’s about just using that and growing with it.”

RESULTS

100

1st Place Match

Faith Day (Manchester Valley) 21-0, Jr. over Josie Langtry (Arundel) 6-13, Sr. (Fall 5:02)

3rd Place Match

Bryn Cespedes (North Harford) 11-3, So. over Ellie Kinloch (Francis Scott Key) 12-5, Fr. (Dec 11-4)

5th Place Match

Riley Day (Leonardtown) 2-2, Fr. over Nijae Tate (Winters Mill) 13-11, Fr. (Dec 11-10)

105

1st Place Match

Ana Martins (Col. Zadok Magruder) 8-2, . over Layla Lagunas (Manchester Valley) 19-4, Jr. (Dec 6-1)

3rd Place Match

Jada Chaves (Arundel) 35-7, Jr. over Emma Taylor (Catoctin) 18-29, Sr. (Fall 3:46)

5th Place Match

Diana Flamenco (Albert Einstein) 15-15, Sr. over Alexandra Conley (Queen Anne`s) 17-6, So. (Fall 0:57)

110

1st Place Match

Sophia Gerstman (North Point) 18-17, Sr. over Marryam Funyas (Montgomery Blair) 18-4, Sr. (Dec 6-3)

3rd Place Match

Sophia Hodges (Northeast) 20-13, Fr. over Isabella Garrity (South Carroll) 26-11, So. (Dec 2-0)

5th Place Match

Kayla Chin (John F. Kennedy) 11-16, So. over Madeline Reed (Stephen Decatur) 11-5, Sr. (Dec 4-3)

115

1st Place Match

Domenica Gladwell (Southern (AA)) 22-8, So. over Kadence Chau (Reservoir) 12-1, Jr. (Fall 0:37)

3rd Place Match

Anastasia Dakoulas (Rockville) 21-5, So. over London Harps (Charles H. Flowers) 9-7, Jr. (Fall 1:57)

5th Place Match

Alaina Kopalchick (Perry Hall) 28-18, So. over Sarah Dobry (Henry E. Lackey) 15-17, Fr. (Dec 9-2)

120

1st Place Match

Jada Fowler (Oakland Mills) 27-6, Sr. over Ariana Carnahan (Eastern Technical) 15-3, So. (Dec 4-2)

3rd Place Match

Mckinley Jovanovic (Montgomery Blair) 11-2, Jr. over Lillian Mellinger (Kent Island) 17-3, Fr. (Dec 8-4)

5th Place Match

Liliana Giraud (Atholton) 21-12, Sr. over Summer Shackelford (Manchester Valley) 16-6, Sr. (Fall 0:49)

125

1st Place Match

Lexy Pabon (Crofton) 15-4, . over Rachael Wheatley (Perry Hall) 25-15, Sr. (Fall 2:37)

3rd Place Match

Mable Woodgeard (Parkside) 11-2, Fr. over Clara Freeman (Hammond) 11-6, . (Dec 5-0)

5th Place Match

Caroline McCann (Westminster) 21-10, . over Cielo Prieto (Richard Montgomery) 12-7, So. (Dec 2-1)

130

1st Place Match

Brianna Holcomb (Northern (Cal.)) 22-11, Sr. over Brienna Blackwood (Meade) 10-21, Sr. (Fall 3:14)

3rd Place Match

Maria Samuel (Randallstown) 26-9, Sr. over Michaela Carney (Boonsboro) 9-4, Sr. (Fall 2:19)

5th Place Match

Kaia Condon (Albert Einstein) 9-5, So. over Za`Kiyyah Monroe (Parkville) 11-10, Sr. (Dec 5-0)

135

1st Place Match

Amelia Mikus (Boonsboro) 15-1, Jr. over Allie Grossnickle (Smithsburg) 18-15, . (Fall 1:40)

3rd Place Match

Stefanie Barrios (Rockville) 12-9, Jr. over Keira Cooper (Francis Scott Key) 18-5, Jr. (Fall 1:42)

5th Place Match

Esther Clark (Northwest) 5-4, Fr. over Trinity Butler (Oakland Mills) 11-6, Jr. (Fall 4:34)

140

1st Place Match

Taylor Mead (Westminster) 16-2, . over Saleta Nichols (Colonel Richardson) 13-16, Sr. (Fall 2:20)

3rd Place Match

Chloe Farber (Montgomery Blair) 17-2, Sr. over Eva Bachman (Baltimore Polytechnic Institute) 15-5, Jr. (Fall 2:07)

5th Place Match

MacKenzie Koon (Francis Scott Key) 9-8, So. over Hayden Mullins (Southern (AA)) 5-6, Fr. (Fall 1:12)

145

1st Place Match

Nadia Estrada (Richard Montgomery) 6-2, Sr. over Adeline Kraics (Francis Scott Key) 11-6, Jr. (Dec 6-5)

3rd Place Match

Apollo Hayden (Harford Technical) 16-2, Sr. over Daisy Rojas (La Plata) 6-3, So. (Dec 3-2)

5th Place Match

Gabrielle McLeod (Winters Mill) 14-2, So. over Hyelni Samaila (Randallstown) 17-14, Sr. (MD 10-0)

155

1st Place Match

Nebi Tsarni (Watkins Mill) 25-6, . over Katie Martin (Manchester Valley) 22-2, Sr. (Fall 2:28)

3rd Place Match

Alexandra Ford (Laurel) 20-1, . over Morgan Linton (Eastern Technical) 12-3, So. (Fall 3:16)

5th Place Match

Mi`Amore Davis (Oakland Mills) 14-6, Jr. over Manyia Moore (Overlea) 12-9, So. (Dec 4-2)

170

1st Place Match

Ugochi Anunobi (Randallstown) 30-0, Jr. over Azariyah Johnson (Stephen Decatur) 15-1, So. (Dec 7-4)

3rd Place Match

Marloe Stump (Patterson Mill) 15-7, Jr. over Joyce Mbeboh (Winters Mill) 13-7, Sr. (Fall 3:44)

5th Place Match

Kaylynn Bryant (Queen Anne`s) 13-8, So. over Madison DeHoff (Francis Scott Key) 8-11, So. (MD 11-2)

190

1st Place Match

Jabea Ewane (Watkins Mill) 10-14, So. over Maria Hiles (Clarksburg) 7-6, Sr. (Fall 3:08)

3rd Place Match

Emily Arboleda (Francis Scott Key) 17-3, Fr. over Keira Seguin (Oakland Mills) 13-6, So. (Dec 4-2)

5th Place Match

Deborah Flores (Winters Mill) 14-7, Sr. over Mame Thiam (Western School of Technology) 18-3, Sr. (For.)

235

1st Place Match

Jocelyn Cacek (Great Mills) 15-11, Sr. over Emily Boling (Northern (Cal.)) 11-8, So. (Fall 3:52)

3rd Place Match

Kaylie Musard (Walkersville) 15-6, Sr. over Feranmi Odalata (Oakland Mills) 8-5, . (Fall 2:07)

5th Place Match

Chaniah Bernier (Stephen Decatur) 9-5, So. over Sukanya Stoute (Digital Harbor) 11-16, Jr. (Fall 4:20)

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