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07 Feb 2017

By Melanie Johnson ICW Staff

Today was a great day for girls who wrestle across the State of Colorado. Northglenn High School was host to the first ever CHSAA sanctioned all girls high school State wrestling championships. 56 girls competed in 7 different weight classes for the right to step up on the podium and become Colorado’s first female State Champions.
Sophomore 101 lb. Jaslynn Gallegos of Brighton will carry the title of the very first 1st female wrestler to win a CHSAA girls State Championship. How long did it take her you ask? One minute and 15 seconds. I forgot to mention that was a total combination time for the entire tournament. She wrestled 4 matches and pinned each of her opponents in 30 seconds or less. Talking with her after the tournament today, she originally wanted to bracket in both the girls and the JV Tournament. Both were held at the same location, but she was told that it wasn’t an option. Her desire to become a State Champion in the very first weight class overrode any other decision. She had thought of going in the 111 weight class but the lure of the first girl on record was just too much to make her change weights. Her feelings after the match today “It is indescribable what I am feeling, I have wrestled a long time and this is just a step closer to wrestling in college” She loves her Brighton teammates and wrestles for the Brighton High Schools wrestling team and now she can add “The first female to win a State Title in Colorado at the very first Girls State Championships” to her career of wrestling. Congrats Jaslynn Gallegos.

Senior Olivia Loppolo 111lb. weight class, from Silver Creek didn’t waist anytime claiming her State title. She pinned her opponent Karen Acosta in 40 seconds. Acosta is a Junior this year and wrestles for Skyview H.S. Junior Marissa Gallegos of Jefferson would get her State title in the 121 lb. weight class with a pin over Junior Kelli Fiordalis of Chaparral (Fall 1:03). 131lb. Sophomore Kaden Campbell of Greeley Central is no stranger to competing and winning in girls tournaments. She has been looking forward to this day for a long time. An advocate for girls wrestling and always a kind and encouraging word for the younger wrestlers, she knows what this day means to the sport of girls wrestling in Colorado. She wasn’t taking any chances today in trying to earn her State title and pinned her opponent Sophomore Natalie Benevides of Del Norte in 24 seconds. It will go down in history at this tournament for the fastest pin in the finals.

Freshman Tristan Kelly of Douglas County decided to wrestle a little longer before she claimed her title in the 141 lb. weight class. She was looking for a tech fall and 2:48 seconds into the match she did just that, beating Freshman Carissa Siebert of Fort Collins (TF 21-5). Sophomore 161 lbs. Jerzie Estrada is no stranger to winning a girls state title, she currently holds a girls state title in Calif. and can now add Colorado to her resume with a win over Freshman Shannon Greer of Calhan (TF 18-2). The final match of the day comes with mixed feelings and is bittersweet for Sophomore Muniratu Tanko of Denver South. She attended the tournament with her friend and wrestling partner Sophomore Marietu Atore also from Denver South and they both ended up in 166+ weight class finals together. Atore would be disqualified during the match for 3 technical violations and after a verbal interaction with the ref would be asked to leave the tournament. When Tanko took the podium to be recognized as a State title winner, Tanko said it was for both her and her friend Atore. She was saddened at the final outcome but loves wrestling and plans to be back next year.

It has been a long journey to get to this point in girls wrestling in Colorado, one that was started long ago. Looking at the numbers today, some might question the need for a girl’s state tourney, but ask the 56 girls who attended today and you would understand the fight and determination to keep this going. After talking to a few parents today, they all felt that the tournaments have been ran well, but many are concerned about the chain of communication and feel that maybe not everyone is getting the info needed for these tournaments in a timely manner to be able to attend. Here are a few of the concerns mentioned today. If your H.S. wrestling team doesn’t have an available coach to attend with you, will they support your interest in wrestling the all girl’s tournaments or if you have just one girl wanting to wrestle, can and will your H.S. team want to pay the entry fee. We can only hope that these concerns and others will be brought to the attention of CHSAA so that the building blocks and foundation of girls wrestling will continue to grow. Congratulations to all who have put forth the time and effort to make this dream, for Colorado girls to wrestle at the State level, a reality. Well Done Colorado, Well Done!