STATE WRESTLING WRAP: Results, Highlights, Photos from 2020 UIL State Wrestling Tournament
As the gates opened, fans raced into the lower bowl of the Berry Center on Saturday afternoon to get into their spot for the evening full of championship matches.
The title bouts did not disappoint.
In an evening of fast-moving wrestling matches, here are some of the highlights of the night.
VYPE FILM: Championship Saturday
It was time to wrestle for gold at the @BerryCenter & the day did not disappoint. Check out some of the best moments and celebrations! #UILState @ChidozieNwankw @AmandaMcaleave1 @CyFairISD @UIL_AD @FosterFootball @OTHSWrestling @KPRC2RandyMc pic.twitter.com/C0uhkrKC5M
— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) February 23, 2020
Jordan Suarez wins state title, named 6A Girls Most Outstanding Wrestler
Twice before Morton Ranch's Jordan Suarez has reached a state title match.
On Saturday, the senior finally finished on top of the podium as the state champion, winning the Class 6A, 138-pound title defeating Krista Garcia of Seven Lakes in a fall at the 3:04 mark.
It is the first state title of Suarez's career as she finishes her senior year with a 48-1 record.
"I wouldn't be here without my team and my coaches," Suarez said. "I'm really appreciative that I go to Morton Ranch."
On top of winning the state title, Suarez was also named the Class 6A Girls Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
"It's pretty great, I'm surprised," Suarez said about the award. "I feel good this year. I've been working hard. It's pretty nice."
BREAKING: @MRHSMavericks senior Jordan Suarez won the Class 6A - 138 State Championship with this pin and tap out. @KatyISDAthletic @MaxPreps @KPRC2RandyMc #UILState pic.twitter.com/7wkAmtGXKG
— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) February 23, 2020
Katy's Higgins wins second-straight title
Walking into the state wrestling tournament as one of the unknown sometimes makes it easier to win.
When you are a defending state champion though, the pressure is turned up just a bit because there is no sneaking up on opponents.
Katy's Kishawn Higgins held up under the pressure, running the table in the tournament, capping it with a dominating 17-7 victory over Plano West's Farid Mobarak, for his second-straight crown in the Class 6A, 170-pound division.
"This is my second time winning, so it feels great," Higgins said. "The first time it was definitely easier. No pressure on me. No expectations to live up to. But this year I had to come out again and show that the first year was not a fluke. So, the second year was harder because there was pressure."
Higgins' journey in wrestling didn't start well, according to the senior, but to win back-to-back state titles to cap his high school career shows his hard work has paid off.
"I started wrestling at a really young age and I wasn't very good back then," he said. "It just shows that I've come a really long way. It feels really good to finish at the top."
Full Circle: Foster's Chidozie Nwankwo caps High School Career with State Title
Dressed in a white long sleeve shirt with a silver UH logo on the right side and a plethora of medals hanging around his neck, Corey Harris watched from the front row.
He watched his son Chidozie Nwankwo finish his high school career with one last gold as a win in the Class 5A, 285-pound State Championship match capped his stellar career.
Moments after the win, Chidozie came over and the two embraced. It was an emotional hug. One that had a lot of meaning to the both of them.
"The hug was me saying well done," Harris said while leaning forward on the rail in front of his seat and holding back tears. "It was saying let's close the chapter on this book and open up next chapter, which is going off to college and pursuing your collegiate career and becoming even more of an impact in this city and to your family.
Boys State Champions
5A - 106 - Kenneth Hendriksen of Carrollton Creekview
5A - 113 - D`Andre Brown of Wylie East
5A - 120 - Alexander Pena of Lubbock
5A - 126 - Felix Saunders of Midlothian
5A - 132 - La`Stot Pleasant of Frisco Lone Star
5A - 138 - Jackson Bourne of Frisco Reedy
5A - 145 - Jackson Carter of Midlothian
5A - 152 - Chase Warden of Dripping Springs
5A - 160 - Jaydn Heaton of Canyon Randall
5A - 170 - Branson Britten of Canyon Randall
5A - 182 - Langston Mayrant of New Waverly
5A - 195 - Mason Ding of Carrollton Creekview
5A - 220 - Ben Bell of Cedar Park
5A - 285 - Chidozie Nwankwo of Foster
6A - 106 - Eamonn Jimenez of Killeen Ellison
6A - 113 - Braxton Brown of Allen
6A - 120 - Dominic Chavez of Arlington Martin
6A - 126 - Donavan Whitted of Arlington Martin
6A - 132 - Parker Decker of Keller
6A - 138 - Luke Sloan of Austin Vandegrift
6A - 145 - Mario Danzi of Allen
6A - 152 - Aaron Lofton of Cedar Park Vista Ridge
6A - 160 - Elise Brown Ton of Allen
6A - 170 - Kishawn Higgins of Katy
6A - 182 - Eli Sheeren of Klein
6A - 195 - Zane Davis of Allen
6A - 220 - Rylan Bonds of Prosper
6A - 285 - George Marsh of New Braunfels
History Made: Kingwood Park's Maddie Sandquist wins first wrestling crown in school history
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.
Mcaleavey finishes career with back-to-back state titles; 91-0 in last two years
Once her final high school wrestling match was over, Amanda Mcaleavey ran towards her coach Ryan Crosby.
Just like last year – after she won the Class 6A 110-pound State Championship – the Cypress Creek senior embraced him. Except she didn't jump in his arms.
"When she was going to hug me and she didn't hug me as hard as she did last year when she won it," Crosby said. "I was like 'What's she doing'."
Instead, Mcaleavey ducked under his arms spun around and joyfully threw her coach onto the mat for one final time. This time as the 6A 102-pound State Champion.
"I was in the moment," Mcaleavey said with a laugh. "I was like a lot of practice, a lot of drilling. It's time to get him back."
Girls State Champions
5A - 95 - Kylie Hernandez of El Paso Eastlake
5A - 102 - Avery Ashley of Lucas Lovejoy
5A - 110 - Sarah Martinez of El Paso Eastwood
5A - 119 -Tabitha Wood of Frisco Independence
5A - 128 - Angelina Prado of El Paso Eastwood
5A - 138 - Maddie Sandquist of Kingwood Park
5A - 148 - Kayani Ayala of El Paso Burges
5A - 165 - Destiny Miles of Dallas Kimball
5A - 185 - Zoe Hankins of El Paso Parkland
5A - 215 - Precious Hernandez of Donna
6A - 95 - Olivia Degeorgio of College Park
6A - 102 - Amanda Mcaleavey of Cypress Creek
6A - 110 - Samara Chavez of Arlington Martin
6A - 119 - Camille Fournier of Weatherford
6A - 128 - Devin Patton of Plano West
6A - 138 - Jordan Suarez of Katy Morton Ranch
6A - 148 - Leilani Hernandez of Plano West
6A - 165 - Kaitlyn Bryant of Katy Tompkins
6A - 185 - Brittyn Corbishley of College Park
6A - 215 - Traeh Haynes of Cibolo Steele