Nearly a year after girls' wrestling received the green-light as a pilot program, local girls' teams are popping up all over the Pikes Peak region — and they're finding success.

Saturday at the Vista Ridge Alpha Throw Down all-girls wrestling tournament some 75 female wrestlers from about 25 schools came out to what is believed to be the biggest collection of girl wrestlers in the Colorado Springs area during the sport's pilot year.

Not bad for a sport looking to be sanctioned by the state's high school sports governing board.

Vista Ridge coach Eric Everard, the event's organizer, was relieved and happy when it all wrapped up. Still, he viewed the tournament as a milestone — but not just in the Colorado Springs area.

The event marked the state's sixth all-girls tournament of the season and four more are on the horizon before regional and state tournaments begin in February. According to Everard 40 Colorado high schools have competed in various tournaments this season.

In all, it was quite a night for girls' wrestling.

The sport, along with boys' volleyball and unified bowling, were approved in early 2018 for pilot programs by the Colorado High School Activities Association. Girls' wrestling would officially begin in 2020-21, pending approval by CHSAA's legislative council this year.

"The goal is February, not today," Everard said. "We're going to take this as a lesson learned and fine-tune a few things and get ready for regional and state."

In other words, the girls and their sport are ready to move forward.


Sarah Savidge has aspirations to become an Olympic wrestler.

And her performance Saturday only gave her another reason to chase that dream.

The Doherty freshman easily captured the 127-pound title with pin after pin at the tournament.

"In the end," Savidge said, "it was thrilling to be out here wrestling at an all-girls tournament."

There were some standout performances by area wrestlers.

Doherty captured the team title with 102 points, thanks to Savidge and Shayla Valdez (111 pounds) winning their respective weight classes. Teammate Brianna Robbins finished second at 136.

"Our girls work extremely hard," Doherty coach Giovanni Ortiz said. "They wrestle every day with boys, so this was an opportunity to kind of reward themselves and kind of have an equal playing field. And it showed today that their hard work and effort paid off."

Chatfield (75 points), Mountain Vista (51) Arapahoe (46) and Poudre (42.5) rounded out the top five.

Tournament host Vista Ridge settled for sixth with 40 points, highlighted by Bella Mitchell's runner-up finish at 161. Meanwhile, Shannon Greer placed second at 185 to lead Calhan, which earned 37 points to take eighth.

Other highlights include first-place wins by Lewis-Palmer's Shenin Steele (105) and Peyton's Samantha Krause-Mahan (136). Mitchell's Madalyn Youngbird (100) and Widefield's Asia Mather (147) took second in their respective weight classes

Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.

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