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Bolstered by 15 place-winners, including five individual champions, Women's Wrestling wins its second straight State Championship (2018)

Back to back State Champions!
2/4/2018 1:44:00 AM

Last year's run to the State Championship came down to the final few matches but this year, Women's Wrestling knew the title was clinched even before the championship bouts began. Dr. Phillips scored 305 points in the State Championship, nearly doubling the total of second place Osceola, to complete a picture perfect season that included a 9-0 dual meet record, championships in eight invitational tournaments, 15 state place-winners and five individual State Champions. Junior Karoline Ortiz started the championship trend in the 122-pound class by pinning three consecutive opponents from Wekiva (1:07), Hagerty (:33) and West Port (4:50). After finishing fifth a year ago, Ortiz jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the title bout with a first period takedown of Taravella's Melissa Avila and rode those points to the finish to cap a perfect 43-0 season with her first State Championship.

In the 162-pound weight class, senior Remy Vargas (18-1) registered consecutive pins over East River (1:20) and University (2:57) to set up a difficult semifinal matchup with Lake Brantley's Ashley Mendez. Vargas muscled her way to a 5-2 victory but her championship bout with Somerset Academy's Mia Liu was even more dramatic. Down 2-1 with eight seconds left in the second period, Vargas scored a critical reversal to take a 3-2 lead into the third period. Just 28 seconds later, Vargas scored a takedown and put Liu on her back for a pin at 4:28 to bring home her first State Championship after finishing fourth in 2016 and sixth last year.

Junior Shania Gowan charged through the 172-pound class with three straight pins in less than four minutes over Liberty (1:13), Coral Springs (1:13) and Wekiva (1:22) but her championship bout with Freedom's Issa Salgado was one to remember. Gowan trailed Salgado 3-1 in the third period but Gowan ripped free for an escape to cut the margin to 3-2 and then delivered a takedown with less than a minute remaining for a 4-3 victory to clinch her second consecutive State Championship. Gowan finished the season a perfect 38-0 with 36 pins!

Moving on to the 197-pound division, DP was fortunate to have two wrestlers in the finals with junior defending State Champion Shedeline Ulysse (30-4, 29 pins) and junior Naomi Alezi. Ulysse pinned her way to the title bout without much resistance, dispatching East River in 52 seconds, University in 57 seconds and Freedom in 1:10. Alezi powered her way into the finals following pins over North Miami (1:33) and University (1:18) but both wrestlers, who practice together every day, agreed to the forfeit victory for Ulysse, giving her her second consecutive State Championship with the State Runner-Up awarded to Alezi.

DP's fifth State Championship was earned by junior Amani Guzman, who may not have even wrestled in the tournament had she stayed with her original decision to compete at the Women's Weightlifting State Championship in Panama City! After winning the Regional Weightlifting title and qualifying for State, Guzman, along with Jada St. Cyr, and Naomi Alezi, had to choose between wrestling and weightlifting, and after much debate, she chose to stay in town and compete with her wrestling teammates. That decision proved very wise as Guzman obliterated all four opponents with four consecutive pins in the 287-pound division's round robin format to capture her first State Championship.

Sophomore Jessica Corredor opened up her tournament with three consecutive pins over Harmony (5:18), Crestview (:42) and Niceville (2:13) and locked up with Miami Coral Park's Katalina Bartelt in the 99-pound title match in a battle of defending state runners-up. Corredor struck first with a takedown for a 2-0 lead and regained the lead, 3-2, after an escape but Bartelt countered with a reversal and scored two back points to take a 6-3 lead into the third period. Corredor scored again with a takedown to pull within a point, 6-5, but another reversal by Bartelt in the final minute lifted her to an 8-5 victory. Corredor earned her second consecutive State Runner-Up finish and finished a brilliant season with a record of 34-1 with 31 victories by pin. She'll be back even stronger next year.

After an opening round forfeit victory over Freedom, freshman sensation Aaliyah Hyacinthe opened up the eyes of many with first period pins over Miami Jackson (:51) and Osceola (1:30) to earn a berth in the 222-pound title match. Awaiting Hyacinthe was defending State Champion Mya Edmonson of Liberty but the DP freshman showed no signs of being intimidated, giving the champion everything she could handle before falling, 6-2. Hyacinthe's State Runner-Up finish gave the Panthers eight finalists across the 15 weight classes, two more than the second and third place teams combined.

Third place finishes were turned in by sophomores Jennifer Charles and Jada St. Cyr and both had some incredible matches. Jennifer Charles (32-8, 28 pins) registered pins over Miami Jackson (3:34) and Orange City University (:41) before taking a 6-4 decision over Cooper City to advance to the semifinals of the 134-pound weight class. A difficult loss to South Lake dropped her into the consolation bracket but she made every match count. After dispatching Land O' Lakes with another pin (1:44), Charles  saved her most exciting match for the consolation final bout with Rebecca Dawson of Lake Nona. Falling behind 8-0, Charles refused to quit and put Dawson on her back, pinning her at 2:30 to take home the bronze medal. Remember her name!

Jada St. Cyr looked invincible through her first three matches at 140 pounds as she crushed Windermere (1:00), Olympic Heights (1:24) and Evans (1:13) by pin to earn a semifinal berth. That set her up against eventual State Champion Abnelis Yambo, who pinned St. Cyr in the second period (3:27). While the loss was devastating to St. Cyr, she regrouped for the consolation bracket and pinned Strawberry Crest in a blistering :09 and secured the bronze medal with a pin over Chloe Ogden of Oviedo in 1:45. Five victories by pin for the talented sophomore, who finished 39-5 on the season and is poised to become one of the most dominant wrestlers in Florida next year.

Senior Remy Hellinger wrestled more matches than anyone on the team this weekend (eight!), winning six of them, five by pin, to place fifth in the 115-pound class. Hellinger pinned West Port at 4:25 in her opening bout but that matched her with eventual State Runner-Up Jenna Swift of Island Coast, who pinned Hellinger in the first period. The consolation bracket can be long and exhausting but Hellinger never wavered. After a 17-2 technical fall over Wekiva, Hellinger pinned Lyman (1:15), University (1:07) and Matanzas (4:08) to earn a consolation semifinal berth. Hellinger battled hard but came up short against Osceola (7-3) but rebounded yet again with a pin over Apopka at 2:42 to earn fifth place, closing out her season with an impressive record of 33-7 with 26 victories via pin.

Fifth place also went to senior Roberts Charles in the 147-pound class. Like Hellinger, Charles had to claw her way back to the podium from the back of the consolation bracket but she embraced it like a champion. After pinning New Smyrna Beach (:30) in the opening round, Charles lost a tough match to Freedom's Kalani Rivas, 10-7. After advancing by forfeit, she whipped Crestview by pin (4:01) to earn a consolation semifinal berth but fell to Matanzas to drop into the fifth place match. There she met up with Freedom's Kalani Rivas for the second time in as many days but Charles would get her revenge with a 9-6 victory to finish her senior season with a record of 21-9.

In the 154-pound class, junior Anastasia Etienne came out the gate on fire with a pin over Evans (4:59) and a major decision over Boca Ciega (14-6) but in the semifinal, three-time State Champion Ana Luciano of Osceola returned the favor and pinned Etienne in the first period, sending her to the consolation bracket semifinal. Etienne suffered another defeat, this time to Lehigh, but in the fifth place match, Etienne battled Freedom's Jada Williams for a 9-8 victory to earn the coveted podium medal.

Dr. Phillips also had a pair of wrestlers place sixth in freshman Skyy Gowan at 184 pounds as well as junior Trinity Rios at 128 pounds. Gowan finished with a 3-3 record, all three victories by pin: New Smyrna Beach (:52), University (:35) and Freedom (2:16). Unfortunately, Gowan sustained an injury in her consolation semifinal loss that prevented her from competing in the fifth place match. Junior Trinity Rios blew past Apopka with a 24-second pin in the opening round of the 128-pound class and followed up with a 17-0 technical fall over Osceola to earn a semifinal berth. Unfortunately, Rios suffered a bad shoulder injury in her match vs. Liberty and was forced to withdraw from competition ending her season with a record of 31-6, 27 victories via pin.

Other wrestlers who scored valuable points for the Panthers include junior Yari Torres (25-12) at 108 pounds, who finished with a 3-2 tournament record with three pins; junior Sterline Joseph, who pinned her first two opponents at 108 pounds; sophomore Mikayla Fountain, who finished 2-2 with a pair of victories over Cypress Creek in the 147-pound class; and junior Dianna Rodriguez, who finished 1-2 at 154 pounds with a pin victory over Orange City University.

It seems absurd to restate the obvious but this team has put together one of the most impressive seasons across all of our sports in many years. Not only were the ladies dominant on the mat, they were also pillars of sportsmanship and class throughout the tournament. Congratulations to our three graduating seniors, Remy Hellinger, Roberts Charles and Remy Vargas for providing exceptional leadership and guidance. How proud they will be when they look back on their careers knowing they were such a major reason for the program's success. Those rings never lose their luster. Congratulations also to head coach Kirwyn Adderly and his staff for developing and cultivating the best Women's Wrestling program in Florida. It's a 12-month season if you want to win championships and nowhere is that more evident than this team. The commitment, the buy-in, the belief...it starts with the coaches and it grows from there. Truly an honor to have them at Dr. Phillips!

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