STATE WRESTLING: Sandquist makes history, becomes first-ever wrestling state champ for Kingwood Park High School
CYPRESS – In the history of the Kingwood Park wrestling program, the highest finish by a wrestler had been fourth place.
Maddie Sandquist was the most recent to do it, finishing fourth last year in the 128-pound weight class, after going 1-2 in the state tournament her freshman year.
"Honestly I thought second time was the charm," Sandquist said with a laugh. "So, yes going into this year I definitely thought third time was the charm."
Following her finish at state a year ago, Kingwood Park coach Jeff Knight knew this year could be the one.
The one where Sandquist would make history.
"Last year she was sick and had a back injury, so she knew she could do better," Knight said. "From day one she said this is going to be the year. She was on a mission. She just had a great year all year long."
Sandquist moved up to the 138-pound weight class for her junior season and in it posted a 49-4 record to get to her third-straight state wrestling tournament.
On Saturday, Sandquist completed her mission.
The junior defeated Mea Mohler of Leander Glenn by a 2-1 decision, completed her year with a 53-4 overall record and the Class 5A 138-pound State Championship.
"It's our first state title ever to bring back to the school," Sandquist said. "I'm so thankful that I get the opportunity to do that for my school. It's amazing."
Being so close last year, Sandquist learned from her experience.
She put in countless hours of work in the offseason and said she knew if she put in the hard work and keep her mental space right, she would win.
"I definitely approached it different than last year," Sandquist said. "Last year, state week was just a wreck. So, this week I tried to not change anything from every other week of the season. I knew I didn't have to change anything. I just wanted to go in and do what I've been doing all season long."
The win by Sandquist, who said she will be wearing her gold medal draped around her neck on Monday morning at Kingwood Park High School, does more than just make history.
For Knight, he hopes that young girls will see what she has done and look to follow in her footsteps, which in turn will hopefully continue the growth of the program.
"Girls wrestling is on the rise," Knight said. "That just gives us another opportunity to let people know about it and try and encourage more girls to try and come out. We've had good numbers but maybe these young girls coming up will look at Maddie as a role model now and get more girls to try and do it in the future."