Watkins Mill wrestlers win consecutive State Championships


Sanjay Fernando

Junior Nebi Tsarni and sophomore Jabea Ewane win the Maryland state championships for the second time in a row.

On Saturday, March 4, sophomore Jabea Ewane and junior Nebi Tsarni competed in and won the Maryland State Championship for wrestling. Ewane competed in the 155 pound category and Tsarni competed in the 190 pound category.

This marks the second consecutive State Championship for both Ewane and Tsarni. “I was really excited for both of us because it had been the second time [at the State Championship] and we had already won the first time,” Tsarni said. “We really had our eye on the prize, people were really out to get us.”

This season was only Ewane’s second wrestling, and initially winning the State Championship wasn’t her goal. “I didn’t think I would win especially since I was a first year,” Ewane said. “[But] when I did win as a freshman, I was determined to win all four years of high school.”

During their time on the wrestling team at Watkins Mill, Ewane and Tsarni have seen the program double in size. “The first practice that we had for tryouts we had 30, almost 40 kids come in,” Tsarni said. “[It] was really exciting compared to last year… I was happy to see [the team] grow.”

Now that the season is over, Ewane feels relieved. “Before [the State Championship] I was stressed out because I knew people were counting on me to win again,” Ewane said. “When I won I felt that pressure lift off me.”

However, Tsarni has advice to combat that pressure. “Everybody gets nervous before their matches, even the people who are the most prepared,” Tsarni said. “One thing I’ve learned from wrestling is you get to know who you are… it’s an individual sport.”

“I come out of every tournament… with something to learn or something to work on,” Tsarni said. “To overcome any problems I have, I just get back in the room and get to work.”

Tsarni tries to take this same approach to other aspects of her life. “Whenever there are things in life that are getting in the way, it’s all about how you are able to cope or get through your problems,” Tsarni said.

Tsarni and Ewane have also faced difficulties balancing their lives as student-athletes that they had to learn how to handle.

“It’s my junior year [and] I’m also an [International Baccalaureate] student… but I know that I’m a student before I’m an athlete,” Tsarni said. “If I’m falling behind as a student, I won’t hesitate to take time to get my school work together.”

Ewane and Tsarni both agree that being a State Champion is a great feeling, especially back-to-back State Champions. “Winning always feels good,” Tsarni said. “Especially doing it with one of my teammates for the second time in a row, we were the big dogs, the top of the food chain.”

Ewane and Tsarni would also like to see the wrestling program at Watkins Mill grow again for next year. “I think everybody should take a chance at wrestling,” Tsarni said. “Even if [you] aren’t the best, [you] still have a better understanding more about [yourself].

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