2024 New Jersey Girls Wrestling State Finals Recap

The 2024 New Jersey girls wrestling state finals wrapped up, showcasing some of the best high school wrestlers in the state. This year's finals brought exciting matches and surprising outcomes, highlighting the talent in girls wrestling. From start to finish, the competition was intense, with wrestlers giving their all for the state title. Let's take a look at the key moments and performances that came from the 2024 State Finals.

Olivia Palmer of Paulsboro opened up with an early takedown attempt but Riley Lerner scrambled it off. Palmer stayed on the attack and snapped her opponent forward positioning herself to capitalize. She tied up for a gator roll and executed with perfection. With Lerner now on her back, Palmer was able to lock in a pin securing the 120 lb. championship.

Not much action happened in first period as both Eva Altamirano of South Plainfield and Jada Pichardo of Pennsauken were at a standstill. The second period came around with Eva on top. She was able to hold Pichardo down for over a minute but got called for a stalling warning. As Pichardo tried to escape, Altamirano held on longer but was eventually called for stalling. With a few mat returns and single leg snatches, top kept control. Jada eventually got out in the closing seconds of the period and now had a 2-0 lead. Altamirano started on bottom for the third period and hit a switch reversal to tie the score. As they were on the edge of the mat, Altamirano put Pichardo on her back taking a 4-2 lead and going on to win the 126 lb championship.

Kayla Vazquez of Kinnelon opened the match up with an aggressive takedown breaking through Aretz sprawl. From the bottom, Shea Aretz pulled off a clean reversal that allowed her to tie it up in the finals seconds of the first. In the second period, Aretz escaped from the bottom taking a 3-2 lead which eventually was the score at the end of two. At the start of the third, Vazquez got out to the side as she tried to escape but Shea was able to catch a leg and hip over for the pin.

This match between freshman, Ella Poalillo of High Point and Eva Barry of Newton was as close as they come. The first period but wrestlers held a neutral position as both were unable to score no matter the takedown attempt. The second period start in a neutral position by choice and both wrestlers remain at a standstill. Poalillo started down for the third period and quickly escaped for a 1-0 lead. Barry got in on two shots that looked like it could have turned into points, but Ella was able to fend off. Barry’s last attempt got sprawled on and Poalillo was able to get around her back for two winning the match 3-1.

This highly anticipated bout between Thea Rowland and Julia Fongaro opened up with a battle for position. Fongaro goes in for shot and Thea is able to get around for two. The second period started in neutral and Fongaro started aggressively as she pushed Thea around leading to a stall warning. As Julian kept on the attack, she went in for another take down that Rowland was able to fend off and take her back for another two. On top, Rowland got his with a stall and Julia eventually escaped making the score 4-2 to close out the second. The third also started in neutral in which another takedown attempt from Fongaro lead to Rowland taking her back once again. She kept this momentum in the closing minutes and the Middletown South Junior went on to win the 145 finals 8-4.

Elizabeth Adebola of Perth Amboy came in as the 4-seed but pinned her way to the finals. As the championship bout kicked off, Adebola started off aggressive and caught her opponent Alexus Paden with an under hook in which she used to throw Paden to her back. Elizabeth ended up 5-0 after the first period. The second period started in neutral and Adebola was fishing for hooks again. Alexus Baden decided to get on the offense herself and got in deep on a shot. Adebola was able to hip over as a defensive move but almost scored her self. Paden held on to a leg but eventually fell to her back and trailed 9-1 as the second came to an end. The third started off with Paden on top looking to get a pin. The two got near the edge of the mat where Adebola was in a dangerous spot as she fell to her back in the final seconds but was luckily saved by the bell. The final score ended 10-6 as Adebola takes home the 152 lb gold.

Cherry Hill West’s Ari Tyson comes back to the State Finals and is looking to add another gold medal to her collection. Tyson kicked things off with an early takedown from a body lock that put her up early on. Tyson started the third period on bottom as she looked to escape and hold her opponent off to seal the deal. However, Atiyana Williams had other plans. As Tyson tried to escape, Willams caught her in a bad position and capitalized. She picked up the pin in the third period and went on to win.

Both wrestlers opened the match looking for a good position in body lock attempts. Eventually Naylani DelValle of North Plainfield was able to secure her arms around her opponent and pick up the two points. Liliana Alicea of Central Regional quickly escaped. Alicea went on to get a body lock of her own and pick up two points advancing her to a 3-2 lead. The second period began with DelValle on top position. Once again, Liliana was able to escape but this time with a reversal. As she now had the advantage point, she began to work a pin that would win her the 185 lb. Championship.

Returning State Champ out of Ewing, Shellitha Collins  is back once again. Her opponent Alissa Alcindor from Union was here looking to stop a repeat title run. The match started with Alcindor on the attack almosting landing a blast double on the edge of the mat but once they returned to the center, the two couldn’t get anything going. Collins started the second from top position and after a minute of control, she was hit with a stalling call. She now trailed 1-0 and had to look for a way to score points. She tried locking in a deep cross face to turn her opponent but nothing came about as the period ended. From the bottom, Collins quickly got up and turned into her opponent resulting with Alcindor on her back leading to a pin and another State Championship.

The 100 pound finals between Gabriella Conte of Hanover Park and Francesca Gusfa of Ridgewood did not disappoint. Conte opened the score with a sharp takedown in the first 30 seconds. She was able to hold Gusfa down most of the first but in the final 5 seconds, the Hanover Park freshman picked ups a reversal to tie the match 2-2. Conte began on top and picked up 3 points for the near fall. She went on to ride out the rest of the period and take a 5-2 lead to close out the second. From the bottom position Conte pulled off a reversal giving her the 7-2 lead another chance to take control and finish the match. With just a minute left, she did just that securing a victory and the 100 point gold.

First minute opened up with little activity. As the period started wining down, Leeana Mercado was able to move her opponent and get in on a shot at the edge of the mat but no score. Jasintai Mallqui of Pennsauken started down and escaped pretty quickly making it a 1-0 match. Mercado continue to work her opponent and got in on a nice shot that resulted in two. As the third period came around, Mercado lead with a 2-1 lead and had a chance to add more to her score. She quickly escaped from bottom position, and followed up with another takedown making it 5-1. Leeana continued to control her opponent and went on to win the state title.

The last match of the day came down to Paige Kirk of Ramsey and Kylie Gudewitz. Kyle got on the board super fast with a takedown in the opening seconds of the match. From the top position, she was able to hold control and go into the second period with the lead. Gudewitz then got a reversal in the bottom position and looked to work a pin as she took full control. Another takedown in the third period made the score 6-0 and it seems to be in the bag. Kylie continued to work for a pin picking up 3 more for a near fall. As the time expired, she went on to win the 114 state final bout.