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Historic night at state wrestling tournament as two women place near top of their class

Brother-sister duo reach goals; papa proud
Posted at 8:51 AM, Feb 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-24 11:17:41-05

DENVER -- Daniel and Cher Rios couldn't be more proud.

Their son, Isaiah, a sophomore at Valley High School, won a state title Saturday in the Class 3-A, 138-pound weight class at the Colorado state wrestling tournament.

Their daughter, Angel, a junior at Valley High, placed fourth in her weight class.

She was one of two young women standing at the winner's podium before a packed house at the Pepsi Center.

Wrestling Runs in the Family

Daniel Rios said there is wrestling in his children's blood.

"They worked as a team," he said. "They worked together."

Isaiah was nearly undefeated heading into the tournament, having lost just one match the entire season.

He made quick work of his final opponent at the state tournament.

"I had a game plan going in," he said, "and I fully executed it. I didn't hold anything back."

Opponent Forfeits

Angel was declared the winner of one match, when an opponent, Brendan Johnston, of Colorado Springs, forfeited.

Johnston told our partners at the Denver Post that he "wasn't comfortable with wrestling a girl," specifically "the physical contact."

"His reasoning behind it, is his religion," Angel told Denver7, "and if he feels that that's what he wants, then out of respect for him, I'm okay with it."

Daniel Rios declined comment about Johnston's decision, but did say that Angel earned her way to the tournament.

He said she has been wrestling since she was a young child.

"She asked me, when she was three years old, to wrestle," he said. "I told her it wasn't a girl's sport. She came back a week later and said, 'Why do you let my brother's wrestle?' So I gave her one week in the room and she's never been off the mat."

Mr. Rios said Angel made the choice.

"I stand behind her all the way and take her wherever she needs to go," he said, beaming with pride.

Angel was still soaking it all in Saturday night. When asked what she thought about placing fourth at state, she replied, "It really hasn't hit me yet."

Great Feeling

Isaiah said winning a state title is "a great feeling."

He said he feels great for his sister.

"It's really extraordinary for a girl," he said. "Considering how much work she put in on and off the mat, and with her academics, it's great to see her succeed."

When asked his reaction to one of Angel's opponents forfeiting the match, Isaiah said, "I think he should have wrestled her, because at the end of the day, it's just a match."

Isaiah said he'd have no qualms about wrestling a girl who wanted to be there and wanted the wrestling experience.

There were a lot of hugs and handshakes among the Valley delegation last night.

It was hard to tell who felt more proud, the Rios kids, or their parents.

"They set goals and made them," Daniel Rios said. "The hard work paid off."