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From the Brink of Defeat: How Jania Dunigan Snatched Victory in the District Finals

The perfect season for Jania Dunigan is still intact — barely.

The standout from Arlington James Martin High School secured a District 3-6A title on Wednesday but needed a last-second win.

Tap here to watch Jania Dunigan’s interview after her district championship victory.

A reigning state champion at 132 pounds, Dunigan won the district title at 126 pounds thanks to a takedown in the final seconds to beat Arlington Lamar’s Kaylynn Lairson, 7-6, at the Arlington ISD Athletics Center.

“Honestly, it wasn’t my best match,” said Dunigan, who is now 37-0 with the win. “Me and her have been at it for our third year now. We know what we do to each and we know what we will do. The win felt nice.”

Dunigan said she was unaware of the time when she trailed 6-5 but heard Lairson’s teammates yell 10 seconds as the clock ticked down. She said that is when she knew she had to make the move and she did — taking her down right before the referee got the tap to end the match. 

On Jan. 19, Dunigan secured an 11-0 major decision over Lairson in the Texas State Duals in Wichita Falls.

Two years ago in the district finals, Lairson posted a win by fall against Dunigan.

Could they see each other again next weekend?

The Lady Warriors, which finished second in the team standings with 133 points, had two other champions.

Junior Haley Hunsucker (120) got a 14-6 major decision over Arlington’s Arial Quick in the finals. Sophomore Camille Rainey improved to 22-1 on the year after winning the 138-pound bracket. She pinned Arlington Sam Houston’s Sophia Ornelas in the third period.

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Written by Cody Thorn

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