In one of her first matches during her first year of high school wrestling, Sarah Savidge got a wakeup call.

She lost to Heritage's Autumn Barela by five points in a tournament at Arapahoe. It was a loss that stuck with Savidge as she worked to improve in the Doherty wrestling room and at other tournaments across the state.

Last weekend, she got her chance at redemption.

At the Vista Ridge Alpha Throw Down, the biggest collection of girl wrestlers in the Colorado Springs area in the sport's pilot year, Savidge faced Barela in the 127-pound final. It didn't take long for Savidge to get revenge, as she earned a pin 17 seconds into the second round.

That win capped off a dominant run. Savidge won all four of her matches via pins, a stat that landed her this week's Gazette Preps Peak Performer honor.

"When I won that tournament, I was very relieved that I just got this over with," the Doherty freshman said. "Then, it kinda dawned on me how big of a deal this is because it's another huge step forward to get women's wrestling sanctioned."

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 Colorado High School Activites Association's legislative council this year.

Savidge, along with hundreds of other girls in the state, is a pioneer. And she's glad to just play a part.

She grew up with aspirations to become a wrestler. But she heard from many people that the sport was "unladylike" and meant for boys. For a while, she tried other sports, like volleyball and track and field.

"It just wasn't my thing," Savidge said. "I'd do them to participate in the sport, but it wasn't a spark for me."

Finally, it happened. Two years ago, her parents put her in wrestling classes, and she was right all along: wrestling was a passion.

"I can't see myself not wrestling," she said.

And her coaches at Doherty are totally fine with that.

"Her work ethic is contagious," Spartans coach Giovanni Ortiz said. "She trains hard, she works hard."

And even after a loss, she's always seems ready to get back into the wrestling room.

Her ultimate goal is to become an Olympic wrestler.

"This is a fast-growing sport," Savidge said. "It'll help me advance because I'll see new faces and new styles of how people wrestle ... so once it's sanctioned, it'll explode even more."

And there's a good chance she'll stick around to see that happen.


Sarah Savidge, Doherty

Sport: Girls' wrestling

Year: Freshman

Weight class: 127

Highlights: The freshman steamrolled through her competition at the Vista Ridge Alpha Throw Down all-girls wrestling tournament this past weekend, pinning all four opponents en route the 127-pound title. Savidge earned a second-round pin against Heritage's Autumn Barela in the final to finish the tournament with a 14-2 record so far this season.

Favorite music artist: Granger Smith

Favorite athletes: Jordan Burroughs and Brent Metcalf

Favorite movie: Unbroken


Other Peak Performers

Boys' basketball

Keyshawn Maltbia, Fountain-Fort Carson

The junior continued to be a dominant force in the Pikes Peak region, evident by his 33-point performance last week in a 76-72 win over Palmer. Maltbia shot nearly 50 percent from the field to go along with 13 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks. He is averaging 18.5 points for the Trojans (9-4).

Girls' basketball

Kylee Blacksten, Air Academy

The junior had an impressive first week back from winter breaking, exploding for 14 and 29 points, respectively, in wins over Sand Creek and Discovery Canyon last week. In the second game, she averaged a point per minute to go along with four rebounds and two steals. The Kadets entered this week with a perfect 10-0 mark.


Peyton Garner, Lewis-Palmer

The forward knocked in two goals during a four-goal third period this past Saturday, as the Rangers topped Cheyenne Mountain, 6-4. Lewis-Palmer (6-3-1) has already improved from its 3-15-1 overall record last season.


Sophia Bricker, Cheyenne Mountain

The senior touted wins in the 200-yard breaststroke and 500 freestyle to help the Indians capture the team title at the Hornet Invitational in Pueblo. In the breaststroke, Bricker nearly broke former teammate Cat Wright's 2-year pool mark, finishing just .23 seconds off the pace. 


Jared Volcic, Mesa Ridge

The junior had a dominant showing at the Fredrick Invitational this past week, finishing with the 195-pound title. He recorded three first-period pins before he earned a major decision, 17-6, over Greeley Central's Cody Solis in the title match. It was Solis's first loss of the season. Volcic has a 13-2 record.

Brendan Johnston, The Classical Academy

The senior won all four of his matches as the Titans placed fourth at the Legends Duals in Parker. TCA went 3-0, topping Thornton, Bennett and Legend. The only other Titan to go undefeated in the tournament was Nathan Johns, who finished 5-0.


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.