PHILIPSBURG – Maya Hemo says she never panics during a fight – even in the state final.

“I always panic before a game,” a Cherry Hill East High School junior said with a laugh.

Despite falling by a point in the last minute of the third period, the calm and cool Ham landed from Peterson and became the state champion in the 126-pound state weight class at the NSIAA girls ’individual tournament at Philipsburg High School.

Hemo became the first woman in Eastern history to win a state title, and only the third Cougar overall to join Tom Nugent (1983) and Greg Casamento (1988).

“I’m still handling it,” Hemo said with a huge smile a few minutes after stepping off the top rung of the awards podium.

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