On the strength of nine place-winners, including two individual champions, Dr. Phillips Women's Wrestling captured the program's first State Championship this past weekend in Kissimmee. Sophomore Shania Gowan (182 lbs) and sophomore Shedeline Ulysse (195 lbs) won individual State Championships while freshman Jessica Corredor (97 lbs) and senior Valeria Herrera (145 lbs) earned State Runner-Up finishes while five more wrestlers finished in the top six.
In the 182 pound class, sophomore Shania Gowan, who placed fifth at last year's tournament, registered three pins after a first round bye to win DP's first individual title of the night. In the quarterfinal, Gowan pinned Evans' Monieka McGee in just 49 seconds and followed up with a second period pin of Liberty's Cheyenne Edmondson at 2:40 of the semifinal round. In the championship match, Gowan dispatched Freedom's Ridlica Tataille at 1:42 of the first period to earn first place gold.
Sophomore Shedeline Ulysse earned a runner-up finish one year ago as a freshman but this year she left no doubt as to who was the top wrestler in the 195 pound class. In the quarterfinal round, Ulysse pinned Eva Martinez of Orange City University in just seven seconds and barely broke a sweat in the semifinals before pinning Syanne Green of East River in 51 seconds. In the championship match, which turned out to be arguably one of the most important of the tournament for DP, Ulysse pinned Liberty's Yalitza Ramos at 3:36 of the second period to clinch not only her title, but also secured DP's team title as well. Liberty, last year's state champion, finished second to DP, 219.5-201.
Freshman Jessica Corredor made quite the impression in her first year on the mat as she finished as State Runner-Up at 97 pounds. Corredor was phenomenal in her first three matches, pinning Harmony's Carla Barahona in just 20 seconds, dispatched East Lee County's Alexis Simpson with a 15-0 technical fall and then pinned Lake Nona's Alyssa Fisher at the end of the first period in the quarterfinal round. In the semifinal, Corredor held off Niceville's Emma Allsbrooks for an 11-9 victory but fell to Liberty's Tanaily Lopez in the championship bout. Corredor earned a silver medal, adding to her Metro West Conference gold medal, to cap an extraordinary freshman debut.
Senior Valeria Herrera is one of DP's most experienced wrestlers, finishing second as a sophomore and fourth as a juniuor, and this weekend she proved how valuable that experience was, earning her second State Runner-Up in three years. Herrera won by forfeit over Freedom's Zarai Travis and pinned East Lee County's Jeilah Pabon at 2:53 of the second period to advance to the quarterfinal round. While Paola Forchu of Miami Jackson put up a good test, Herrera put her on her back at 4:40 of the third period to move on to the semifinal where she outlasted Orange City University's Ashia Johnson, 6-2, to earn a berth in the state title match. Unforunately, Herrera's championship goal was stymied by Osceola's Kaelyn Martinez but a tremendous tournament, nevertheless!
In the 160 pound class, sophomore Trinity Rios opened up with a difficult 2-1 victory over Merritt Island's Rylee MacDonald and then fell in the second period to East River's Karina Prieto. In the epitome of determination, however, Rios battled her way back through the consolation bracket with four consecutive victories to claim the bronze medal! Rios pinned Dacey Clayton of DeLand in 47 seconds, out-dueled Osceola's Emily Gomez (2-0), overwhelmed Wekiva's Tamara Sanon with a major decision (10-1) and shut out Mitchell's Destaney Moses (6-0) in the Consolation Championship bout to earn a third place state finish.
In the 138 pound division, sophomore Jennifer Gabriel registered four victories by pin en route to a fourth place finish. After an opening round bye, Gabriel pinned Julnise Herard of Evans at 1:23 and in the consolation bracket, pinned Milena Hernandez of Freedom in 40 seconds, pinned Mariah Ledesma of Osceola in 56 seconds and finished with a first period pin of Matanzas' Angelina Bermudez at 1:45 of the consolation semifinal.
Arguably the hardest working wrestler at the state tournament was junior Alexa Phillips, who overcame a second round defeat and wrestled nine matches over two days to claim a fifth-place finish! Phillips fell in her second round match to eventual state runner-up Katalina Bartlet of Coral Gables with just 18 seconds left in their match. Undeterred, Phillips rolled through the consolation bracket with a forfeit victory over Rachel Robertson (Freedom), pinned Timber Creek's Crystal Claudio in 49 seconds, pinned Osceola's Bianca Leon-Vazquez in 45 seconds, pinned Lake Howell's Britney Mantz at 1:17 of the first period, and beat Nova's Brianna Tucker by injury default. In the consolation semifinal, Phillips lost a hard-fought decision to Lake Nona's Abbigail Blaine (6-2) but earned the fifth-place finish by injury default over East Lake's Madison Stogsdill. All told, Phillips earned her team 25 valuable points...with nearly all of them coming from the consolation bracket. That was one heck of a performance!
Equally impressive a showing came from sophomore Karoline Ortiz who, like Alexa Phillips, found herself wrestling to stay alive after an early setback in the 120 pound weight class. After opening with a pin against Theodisha Etienne of Evans at 1:16, Ortiz lost a heartbreaker to Jayla Coombs of Seminole Ridge, 2-1, to push her into the consolation bracket. From there, though, Ortiz reeled off four impressive victories: pinning Liberty's Angelica Angeles in 43 seconds, pinning Nova's Anaiah Rivera at 1:51, shutting out Alexandra Housel of East Lake, 4-0, and defeating Oak Ridge's Kimberly Reyes-Diaz, 9-5. That set up a rematch with Coombs in the consolation semifinal but Coombs came out on top a second time, 2-0, after another difficult match. Ortiz reorganized and took care of business against Miami Jackson's Nehemie Pluviose with a pin at 1:57 to give her a fifth place finish. After finishing with just two wins at the tournament last year, this was a breakout year for Ortiz and next year she'll be one of the state favorites!
After a fourth place finish at the state tournament last year, junior Remy Vargas faced an even more difficult climb this year in the loaded 126-pound class and came home with a sixth place finish. After pinning University's Gabriella Villamil at 1:51, Vargas followed up with another first period pin over Jade Ciganek of North Ft. Myers at 1:36 to advance to the quarterfinals. That pitted her up against McArthur's talented Jalisa Jones and Vargas came away with a tough decision, 9-5, to move on to the semifinals. Unfortunately, she ran into eventual state runner-up Hosanna Kropp who came away with the 7-4 victory that pushed Vargas into the consolation bracket semifinals. Stephanie Benavides of Southwest Miami awaited and Vargas fell victim to a first period pin that then pitted her against Jalisa Jones for the second time. In the rematch, Jones avenged her earlier loss to Vargas with a 4-2 victory in overtime.
This was truly an unbelievable season for the ladies, as they earned their first Metro West Championship, defeated defending state champion Liberty in a dual meet and claimed the program's first team State Championship. With eight of nine place-winners expected to return next season (seven are freshmen and sophomores), there is no reason to believe a repeat performance isn't possible. Congratulations to all the ladies and to head coach Kirwyn Adderley on a tremendous finish!