High school wrestler forfeits final match rather than face a girl at Colorado state tournament

·2 min read
Angel Rios was one of two female wrestlers who placed in the Colorado state tournament for the first time.
Angel Rios was one of two female wrestlers who placed in the Colorado state tournament for the first time. (Getty)

Brendan Johnston had a chance to place at the Colorado state wrestling tournament on Saturday.

Instead, he chose to forfeit because he didn’t want to wrestle a girl.

Faced with the prospect of advancing in the 106-pound consolation bracket, Johnston simply declined to wrestle his third-round opponent Angel Rios.

Wrestler ‘not really comfortable’ taking on a girl

Why? Because he didn’t want to “treat a young lady like that on the mat.”

“I’m not really comfortable with a couple of things with wrestling a girl,” Johnston told the Denver Post. “The physical contact, there’s a lot of it in wrestling.

“And I guess the physical aggression, too. I don’t want to treat a young lady like that on the mat. Or off the mat. And not to disrespect the heart or the effort that she’s put in. That’s not what I want to do, either.”

Rios 1 of 2 girls to place at tournament

Rios went on to finish fourth in the Class 3A 106-pound weight class. Along with Jaslynn Gallegos, who finished fifth in the same weight class, Rios became the first girl to place at the Colorado state tournament.

Both of them won matches against Johnston that he forfeited. Johnston also declined to wrestle Gallegos on the first day of the tournament.

4 of Johnston’s six losses came via forfeit to Rios

According to the Post, Johnston won 37 of his 43 matches during his senior year at The Classical Academy. Five of those six losses came via forfeit. Four of those forfeits came against Rios.

“Wrestling is something we do, it’s not who we are,” Johnston told the Post. “And there are more important things to me than my wrestling. And I’m willing to have those priorities.”

Johnston knocked himself out of the 2018 state tournament in similar fashion when he declined to wrestle Cayden Condit. On Saturday, the decision not to wrestle put an end to his high school wrestling career.

Rios wrapped up successful season

As for Rios, she focused on the success of her wrestling season that saw her finish with a 23-3 record.

“Right now it’s kind of still a blur,” Rios told Denver’s Fox 31. “I have three older brothers who are wrestlers, so I was constantly around the mat.”

No disrespect

Johnston insisted that he meant no disrespect to his female competitors on the mat by refusing to take them on.

“I think it’s possible to forfeit while still respecting them as athletes and competitors. I really don’t want to disrespect the hard work these ladies have put in. They’ve done a lot of that too. Some people think by forfeiting I’m disrespecting them. That’s not my intention at all.”

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