Valley’s Angel Rios becomes first female to place on podium at boys state wrestling tournament
DENVER — Those in the Pepsi Center on Saturday morning witnessed Colorado wrestling history. Valley’s 106-pound wrestler, Angel Rios, became the first girl to make the podium at the boys state tournament.
She marked her name in the record book when The Classical Academy’s Brendan Johnston forfeited for personal reasons.
“Their core values are as such that there is a lot of physical interaction and contact with female wrestlers, and for them they don’t want to handle a woman in that manner,” The Classical Academy’s coach Sean Collins said. “Based on their core values and faith, they don’t want to disrespect them, but it is his personal decision.”
Rios understood the decision and wasn’t upset by it.
“It’s his decision and I understand that if it’s against his religion,” Rios said. “I have no control over the situation, so if that’s what he chooses to do then that’s on him I guess.”
However, Rios earned her place on the podium when she defeated Pagosa Spring’s Trevor Torrez 4-2 in sudden victory. She faced and lost to Torrez in the first round of the tournament by a 2-1 decision.
“Before the match, my brother told me to shoot, so I just ended up listening to him and I had nothing to lose at that point,” Rios said.
After the emotional win, she began to cry as the referee raised her arm in victory. She then ran into the arms of her coach Ruben Lucero.
“It was relief because it was what I was working for for the past 15 years,” Rios said.
She moved on to the consolation championship where she faced off against Weld County’s Robert Estrada for the fourth time this season. Estrada got the best of her in the Valley Invitational with a 2-0 decision.
This match again was tight. Rios was behind 3-2 in the third period but couldn’t find a way to get that final point. She finished fourth, the highest any girl has ever placed in the boys state tournament.
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