Jillian Dugenio of Branchburg, a middle school student at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison, continued her reign as the best in her weight class by capturing her third consecutive state wrestling championship last weekend at Union High School.
The seventh grader defeated two opponents in the 114 lb. division in a round-robin format to win the title. She shut out a tough competitor who had recorded a pin in the opening bout with a 5-0 decision and clinched the crown with a 44-second pin over the second opponent.
"I'm so happy that my hard work paid off and that, even though I’ve had a few setbacks this season, I was able to get back up and regain my confidence," Jillian said. "I’m so thankful for all the support from friends, family and teachers."
Jillian has been wrestling for more than six years, starting in a recreation program but eventually joining wrestling clubs to step up her game.
"I absolutely love wrestling," said Jillian, who recently was featured on the Megyn Kelly Show as part of the Wrestle Like a Girl campaign. "My key to success has always been put 150 percent effort and never give up until the very end of the last period. I always go into a match with complete confidence in myself, and I come out of a match with my head held high and congratulate my opponent even if I lose."