Anunthaya MacDonnell of Falmouth won the 113-pound division at the girls’ state championship meet after taking the 120-pound title last year. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Anunthaya MacDonnell is proud of the fact she became the first two-time winner at the Maine girls’ wrestling championship.

The Falmouth High junior, who trains with the Portland/South Portland team, is also proud of the improvements she made since her sophomore season that led to a 19-11 record in co-ed competition, wrestling mostly boys.

She says her mindset stays the same whether she’s in an all-girls’ tournament or in the open high school competitions.

“At the (Class A South) regionals, I wanted to win first place. At the girls’ tournament, I wanted to win first place,” she said. “I just feel it’s all wrestling and there’s the same level of pressure at both tournaments.”

MacDonnell came up short at the regional tournament, going 3-2 and losing in the consolation final when she suffered a shoulder sprain and was subsequently pinned by training partner Radolfo Garcia of Portland/South Portland. But 11 days later, she was healed enough to win the 113-pound title in the Maine Girls’ State Championship, in its second year as an MPA sponsored championship.

MacDonnell’s efforts, which included being named the Sportsmanship Award winner at the girls’ tournament, earn her the honor of being the Varsity Maine Girls’ Wrestler of the Year.

MacDonnell’s first girls’ title came at 120 pounds. That sophomore season, she struggled with her weight, often being forced to wrestle at 126 and even 132 pounds. At those weights,her technical skills (she’s wrestled since fifth grade) were too often negated by boys’ superior strength. Plus, she didn’t like the feeling of constantly battling to make weight.

By switching to a strict vegan diet that has since been relaxed to include dairy and eggs, and by running more, MacDonnell was able to get her weight down over the summer and easily made weight at 113 throughout her junior season.

“I definitely felt more motivated and I got my weight down over the summer and just kept it off, and it made it a lot easier to manage during the season and I had a lot more success at 113,” MacDonnell said.

“Anunthaya’s strength is just her technical prowess. Her technique and her mat awareness; her wrestling skills really carry her,” said Tony Napolitano, the Portland/South Portland coach. “And that translated into better performances on the mat.”

With one year of high school wrestling ahead, MacDonnell has two primary goals: qualify for the Class A state meet and win again at the girls’ championship.

“I really want to win three in a row for the girls’ division.”

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