THORNTON — When it was all said and done, Sierra's Hailey Ahsmuhs and Vista Ridge's Bella Mitchell both had smiles on their faces at Saturday's Colorado Girls' Wrestling Championship. They were congratulated by teammates, coaches and family.
One of them, however, actually lost her title match.
The junior Ahsmuhs dominated with three pins in her state tournament run, including one over Durango's Samantha Vasquez in the 147-pound final. Meanwhile, Mitchell — a state champion last season — suffered an 11-2 major decision at 161 to Douglas County's Tristan Kelly, an international wrestler who had pinned Mitchell in all of their previous matches.
Both of Mitchell's losses were to Kelly.
In other words, she had reasons to celebrate.
"I'm not going to say that I didn't think I was going to win," the senior Mitchell said, "but my whole goal was if I wasn't going to win, I was going to take her into the third period, all the way until the end."
The other area state finalist, Palmer junior Michaila Moore, lost to Thomas Jefferson's Zasha Norris via a pin at 215, the last match of the tournament. Moore had pinned all three of her other opponents.
In all, 10 state champions were celebrated.
Chatfield (102 points) won the team title with three finalists. Sierra (47) placed seventh overall, while Doherty and Vista Ridge both had 35 points and tied for 10th.
Girls' wrestling was in its second year of a pilot program and is set to become an official Colorado High School Activities Association sport next season.
Ahsmuhs (20-0) was down 4-0 before she pinned her opponent to open the second period. She said she attempted to execute a move that put her in a bad spot.
"I tried to do a move that I don't do very often and I got caught," Ahsmuhs said. "I was kind of freaking out but I had a feeling that I'd get her."
Her Sierra coach, Ryan Valdez, admitted that he panicked a little when that happened.
"She's always getting into those situations where she puts herself in them," he said of Ahsmuhs, who competes with USA Wrestling. "There were a couple times today where she put herself in those positions. I think she's playing down her athleticism."
He added, "She has performed great all year and I had high hopes for her to come out here and do what she does."
Doherty sophomore Sarah Savidge took third at 127. She lost in the second round to Jefferson's Cayden Condit, the eventual champion who qualified to the state boys' tournament last season. Savidge bounced back in the consolation rounds, highlighted by a pin over Douglas County's Baylie Koonce in their final match.
Other podium finishers were Sierra's Nadiya Trujillo (100, fourth), Coronado's Candice Brickell (105, sixth), Vista Ridge's Angelique Norman (118, sixth), Lewis-Palmer's Olivia Davis (147, fourth), Calhan's Shannon Greer (185, fourth) and Fountain-Fort Carson's Emma Ajavon (215, fifth).