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Phillips returns with a National championship
Sarah Phillips finished the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals with the 102-pound championship this past weekend in Oklahoma City, Okla. - photo by Photo Contributed
After getting a bad break in her quest for a California Interscholastic Federation state title, East Union High sophomore Sarah Phillips conquered another plateau by winning a USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals Championship title in Oklahoma City.

Phillips won the cadet division’s 101-pound title with a 4-3 decision over Jasmine Bailey of Team Iowa.

The girls-only tournament also honored champions in the schoolgirls division and the two age group division.

“I didn’t think that I was going to win it,” Phillips said. “I just knew I was going to go down there and try my hardest.

“This was definitely much more challenging than what I’ve seen. I had a few matches that could have gone either way.”

Phillips garnered the title by outlasting Bailey in a three-round battle, holding off a handful of last-ditch gambles from Bailey. Philips got the tournament off to a start in her favor, when she pinned Kayla McRorie 94 seconds into the match. She would go through six opponents in over the two days.

“None of my coaches went, so coach A.J. (Reindel) had a Merced coach help me,” Phillips said. “I thought he did pretty well coaching me. It took some getting used to, but it worked well.”

Phillips’ trip to Oklahoma City a year ago was not as successful, as she was stopped by Julieta Gonzales in a 5-4 decision in her first tournament action.

Phillips will try and follow up this with another championship run next season, matching the tournament’s nine wrestlers to repeat this season.

“At first when I won I was happy, but it didn’t really hit me at first,” Phillips admits. “But then people started calling me and telling me how awesome it was and it changed.
“I’m hoping to get back there and defend my title. You always want to try and keep your title.”