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HOUSTON – Since stepping off the podium inside the Berry Center a year ago with a bronze medal draped around her neck, Madison Canales has not stopped working.
Foster wrestling coach Scott Kimball jokes with the sophomore that he is going to “steal her shoes so she can’t practice and get off the mat” because of the amount of work she puts in.
All that work. The hours of practice, the hard work and dedication to the sport paid off for Canales on Saturday evening.
Five minutes into her title match, Canales, who was laying underneath Frisco’s Belen Rios pushed herself up to her knees, spun around and pinned Rios to the mat. After 30 seconds of having her pinned down, Canales heard the sound she had waited for for a year – the smack of the referees' right hand on the mat.
Madison Canales was officially a State Champion.
“I’ve been envisioning this moment for so long,” Canales, who was wearing Arizona State socks during her title match, said. “I’ve worked so hard for it. It was so cool to live out my dream.”
VYPE🎥: Heart of a Champion@Fosterwrestling sophomore @the_madicanales won her first-ever #UILState wrestling crown on Saturday with a pin. Relive the victory! #vypecampus 🎥: @jokoch09 (@lcisdathletics @LamarCISD @FosterHSNews @WrestlingTexas @UIL_AD @KPRC2RandyMc) pic.twitter.com/bQFeVOjHfi— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) February 20, 2022
After securing the first state title of her career at Foster, then ran and jumped into Kimball’s arms. The two embraced with Kimball patting her on the back.
“Great kid. Phenomenal work ethic,” Kimball said. “She deserves it more than any kid we’ve had.”
As Kimball sat Canales back down to the ground, the crowd around her parted and she made a b-line for her mother Kristin standing in the first row leaning over the rail. The two embraced with tears of joy flowing down their cheeks.
“I was like ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it’,” Canales said about what she told her mother in the moment.
Kristin added: “I’m just so proud of her. She’s worked so hard for this. She goes to club. She’s dedicated to this sport. I knew she could do it.”
VYPE 🎥: All the emotion of a Champion!! @Fosterwrestling Madison Canales embraces her coach and then runs over and embraces her mother Kristyn after winning her first-ever title. #UILState @lcisdathletics @LamarCISD @FosterHSNews @coach_mcdowell @UIL_AD @KPRC2RandyMc @HTownHSS pic.twitter.com/4EvGb24xmp— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) February 20, 2022
With the win, Canales finishes her sophomore season with an overall record of 41-0 and the Class 5A-128-pound state champion.
At a school like Foster, which has a rich history in wrestling, Canales can now officially etch her name into the record books.
“I love being at Foster,” Canales said. “We have a really good history with wrestling and it’s just amazing to be among such great wrestlers and people.”
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.