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HOUSTON - Inside the Berry Center on Friday night, it was all about the ladies.
No Houston-area boys advanced to the state championship bout, leaving it up to the girls to bring home the hardware and they did not disappoint.
Kingwood Park's Maddie Sandquist (138-pound), Lexi Shannon (215-pound) and Friendswood's Avery Beckman (148-pound) all brought home gold medals. Sandquist was later named the 5A Girls Most Outstanding Wrestler.
"I'm just overjoyed," Shannon said. "Very excited. It's just surreal. Just seeing all my hard work pay off is just amazing. I just can't put it into words."
Sandquist was the only reigning champ to wrestle on Friday night from the Houston area. It only took her 2:38 to pin her opponent, defeating Maya Lewis of Dallas Sunset with a pin.
The Kingwood Park senior finished her season a perfect 30-0 and her career as a two-time champion.
"[Wrestling] is the best sport ever," Sandquist said. "Everybody should come out and wrestle."
VYPE 🎙: @kp_wrestling junior Lexi Shannon is all smiles after winning her first ever state title in her 3rd trip to state. #UILState @KPARKmedia @HumbleISD_KPHS @HumbleISD @HumbleISD_Ath @KParkGBBall @kparkgirlsoc @KPARKBaseball1 @KParkBasketball @KPVolleyball1 pic.twitter.com/U6bv6cfakM— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) April 24, 2021
Kingwood Park finished with two state champions on the night. For the program, which before last year never had a better finish by a wrestler than fourth, now has three state championships in the last two years.
For Jeff Knight, his next step is to take Shannon and Sandquist down to the middle schools that feed into Kingwood Park to continue to excite future girls about wrestling.
"It's huge [for our program]," Knight said. "We'll go down to our feeder schools with them holding their medals and trying to get more girls to step up and follow in their footsteps. We're just really excited."
In the very next match, Beckman was looking to make history for Friendswood and become the first-ever state champion. She defeated Jazmine Garcia of El Paso Ysleta in 2:49 with a pin.
BREAKING: @FwoodWrestling Avery Beckman wins the 5A-148 pound State Championship with a second period pin. She led 4-0 when she won. #UILState @friendswoodisd @FriendswoodBC @KPRC2RandyMc @FwoodVolleyball @FwoodFootball pic.twitter.com/tbIciO7NM1— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) April 24, 2021
Waller's Sierra Hall took second in the 5A-185-pound state championship, falling 5-4 in her title bout. The Waller standout finished her season 17-2 overall and as a state runner-up.
HOUSTON - Maddie Sandquist made her way back and forth walking the edge of the purple center mat reserved for the state championship bout. The Kingwood Park senior wearing a black school wrestling jacket with a multi-colored cheetah print face mask covering her mouth and black headphones nestled over her ears was getting in the zone.
With her phone tucked in on her side, Sandquist was listing through her pre wrestling playlist. It's a long one. But the last song that played - Power by Kayne West.
Just two minutes and 38 seconds later - nearly the length of a song - Sandquist had shown her power, defeating Maya Lewis of Dallas Sunset for the Class 5A 138-pound State Championship. Her second-straight crown.
"I don't think that it's hit me yet that that was my last high school match, but I wouldn't want to end it any other way," Sandquist said.
Sandquist over the past two seasons has gone an incredible 83-4, won back-to-back state titles. The senior was also named the Class 5A Most Outstanding Wrestler as well.
In her illustrious career at Kingwood Park, Sandquist racked up four straight trips to the UIL State Wrestling Tournament and finished with 165 wins.
"Just a tremendous wrestler and even a better kid," Kingwood Park coach Jeff Knight said. "She's a leader in the classroom and a leader on the mat. We couldn't be more proud of her."
BREAKING: @kp_wrestling star Maddie Sandquist wins the 5A-138 State Championship for a second-straight season with this pin!! @HumbleISD_KPHS has another State Champ! #UILState @KPRC2RandyMc @HumbleISD_Ath @HumbleISD @KPRC2Vanessa @ElizabethFagen @kparkgirlsoc pic.twitter.com/i2Bx6VHfjp— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) April 23, 2021
As Sandquist stood there atop the podium getting her gold medal draped around her neck, you think that would have been the highlight of her night.
Not even close.
In fact, Sandquist was more excited for her best friend Lexi Shannon, who is a junior at Kingwood Park and wrestled for the 215-pound state title. While Shannon was battling for her own crown, squatting next to the coaches cheering her on was Sandquist.
Once Shannon had won her own title with a pin, she made her way over and hugged her coaches. Next was her best friend, who started jumping up and down with her arms tight around her neck.
"Coming into this tournament I felt like it was more of an expectation for me to win than it was a big goal," Sandquist said. "I know that Lexi it was her huge goal this year to come in and win state. So, I was just hyped up for her because I knew she could do it. That was the highlight of the day."
Knight added: "She gets more excited for our other girls to win than for her. That's just the kind of teammate she is, she's such a good leader."
What a legacy. A winner on the mat and off.
"I'm only going to wrestle for so long," Sandquist said. "So, knowing that I had a lasting impact at my school, on my program, and on the people around me, that's what wrestling's all about more so than the medals."
Sandquist does plan on wrestling at the next level but has yet to commit or sign to a college program.
VYPE Post: @kp_wrestling senior Maddie Sandquist finishes with 165 career wins and 2 state titles. Leaves a Legacy at the Park! #UILState @KPARKmedia @KParkBasketball @KParkGBBall @kparkgirlsoc @HumbleISD_KPHS @HumbleISD @HumbleISD_Ath @ElizabethFagen @KPARKBaseball1 @UIL_AD pic.twitter.com/vSovcyXoxj— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) April 24, 2021