In his final state tournament appearance, The Classical Academy's Brendan Johnston surrendered matches to two female wrestlers because of personal and religious reasons, said his coach, Sean Collins.
Johnston made a similar decision last year.
On Thursday, Johnston forfeited his opening Class 3A 106-pound match to Skyview's Jaslynn Gallegos. The senior eventually claimed fifth place, becoming one of two female wrestlers to earn podium finishes for the first time in state history; the other was Valley's Angel Rios, who settled for fourth in the same bracket.
Last year, Johnston decided not to wrestle Conifer's Cayden Condit. The move effectively ended his run at the state tournament and a chance to compete for a top-six finish.
This year, Johnston went on to win his first consolation match against Platte Valley's Nicholas Dill with an 18-4 decision. Johnston won another match, a 19-7 major decision over Estes Park's Elijah Kitchen before he forfeited to Valley's Rios on Saturday.
The second forfeit ended Johnston's final state tournament appearance.
His coach said Johnston (38-6) has made such decisions since his wrestling days in elementary school. The forfeits did not stem from a school policy, the coach added.
"There's more to life than wrestling and results, winning and losing," said Collins, the TCA coach. "For him, he said, 'You know what? I respect their talent and hard work.' The competitor in him would love to go out and wrestle. But he also said, 'It's not for me.'"
Discovery Canyon's Allis honors teammate killed in car crash
In the final moments of his Class 4A 126-pound state final victory, Discovery Canyon's Patrick Allis kept thinking of one person.
His teammate Kaden Currier.
Allis defeated Pueblo East's Ryan Roth, 11-5, to claim back-to-back state titles. Soon after, he held up to the Pepsi Center crowd a T-shirt honoring his late teammate and childhood friend. The back featured an image of Currier.
Currier, along with his girlfriend and fellow student Avory Kvale, died in a car crash in late December.
Allis became friends with Currier when they were 8 or 9 years old. Back then, Currier's dad started coaching Allis.
"It's such an emotional season," Discovery Canyon coach Marques Bravo said, "so anything that can put a smile on your face is nice."
It's only the beginning
Woodland Park freshman Brady Hankin didn't shy away from the spotlight Saturday night.
He soaked it in.
In his first state tournament appearance, he dominated. It took him less than 30 seconds into the second round to pin Alamosa's Davion Chavez to claim the Class 3A state title at 106 pounds. Hankin finished his season 30-1.
Soon after, he talked about not only about winning more state titles at the high school level but championships in college and perhaps even the Olympics. He said this with confidence while cameras and digital recorders pointed in his direction.
"I'm done yet," he said. "I've got three more."
Despite his serious demeanor, Hankin had a lighthearted moment. His coach, Keith Sieracki, brought a step stool to the podium where he received his medal, in attempt to poke fun at his small but muscular physique.
"He's a little guy," the coach said, "so brought it for him just in case."