Read about the Patriot League's four state wrestling champions, and much, much more

We have a loaded special Sunday edition of The Playbook for you. We'll lead with stories about four P
The Playbook
Read about the Patriot League's four state wrestling champions, and much, much more
By The Playbook • Issue #63 • View online
We have a loaded special Sunday edition of The Playbook for you. We’ll lead with stories about four Patriot League wrestlers who captured state titles at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships this past Saturday at Denver’s Pepsi Center, five more wrestlers who came just short and one wrestler who made Colorado history.
So, let’s get right to it!

Valley's Isaiah Rios, right, defeated Eaton's Dylan Yancey for the 138-pound championship Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Valley's Isaiah Rios, right, defeated Eaton's Dylan Yancey for the 138-pound championship Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
The Lead
By Bobby Fernandez, bfernandez@patriotplaybook.com
No holding back
DENVER — Before their Class 3A 138-pound state wrestling title match Saturday at Denver’s Pepsi Center, Valley sophomore Isaiah Rios and Eaton senior Dylan Yancey had wrestled three times in the previous five weeks.
Rios won two of those three encounters. No one would have blamed him if he had employed the same methodical, deliberate style that gave him that earlier edge against Yancey.
But, there’s a time to play it safe. The finals of a state wrestling tournament isn’t that time.
Rios (31-1) held nothing back, as he was the aggressor in a 7-3 finals win against Yancey (42-6) on Saturday.
“I tried to be a little bit more careless — go for stuff that was there, in the moment,” Rios said. “You have to go for everything. You always need to have trust in your moves and hopefully it will pay off.”
Though he’s in his second year of high school, this was Rios’ first trip to the state tournament.
A year ago, he sat out regionals and state because he transferred from Roosevelt to Valley midseason.
“I didn’t get to do this last year, which kind of sucked,” Rios said. “But, I just kept training, kept working, and I knew I would be here one day.”
Isaiah, along with his older sister Angel Rios, became the first ever brother-sister duo to be placewinners in the history of the predominantly boys state tournament.
Brush's Wyatt Pfau tries to escape Eaton's Ty Garnhart during their championship match Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Garnhart defeated Pfau for the championship. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Brush's Wyatt Pfau tries to escape Eaton's Ty Garnhart during their championship match Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Garnhart defeated Pfau for the championship. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Never too late
In a situation in which most high school wrestlers would be gassed, Eaton senior Ty Garnhart was only getting started Saturday at the Pepsi Center.
Garnhart capped his high school career in style, winning his first state championship by upending a defending state champion in the finals.
He topped Brush senior Wyatt Pfau via a 7-5 sudden victory in overtime in the 3A 170-pound finals.
Garnhart (42-5) trailed 4-0 entering the final period.
He rallied with a reversal with 1 minute, 43 seconds left. Pfau (40-4) was hit with a stalling penalty with 1:15 left, slicing the gap to 4-3.
Garnhart conceded a free escape with 10 seconds left in regulation and set up one last shot in regulation. He drilled Pfau with a double-leg takedown with 2 seconds left to send the match into overtime, tied at 5.
With 56 seconds left in the first and only overtime period, he recorded another takedown to secure the improbable come-from-behind win.
“My mindset is, ‘I got out of this third period even, I know I can break him in overtime,’” Garnhart said. “No matter what, I know my tank.”
Garnhart’s rise to the top of the podium on Saturday was a remarkable one.
A year ago, he placed fifth at state.
Two years ago as a sophomore, he went 1-2 and didn’t place at all.
“Ever since my freshman year, I’ve wanted to be there (on top of the podium),” Garnhart said.
Valley's Jaziah Whaley, top, keeps control of Platte Valley's Josh Yancey during their championship match Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Whaley defeated Yancey for the championship. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Valley's Jaziah Whaley, top, keeps control of Platte Valley's Josh Yancey during their championship match Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Whaley defeated Yancey for the championship. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Finally over the hump
The last two years, state semifinals were a bugaboo — a conundrum impossible to solve — for Valley junior 160-pounder Jaziah Whaley.
This time around, he was the conundrum impossible to solve among the other 15 wrestlers in his bracket.
Whaley cruised to his first state title, beating Patriot League foe Josh Yancey of Platte Valley 7-0 in the 3A finals.
The past two years, Whaley (42-1) lost in the state semifinals and placed third.
But nothing could slow him down this weekend. The finals match was his closest of the tournament, as he earned two pins and a technical fall in the previous three rounds.
“This has been a lifelong dream of mine ever since I started wrestling,” Whaley said. “Coming short (the last two years) was heartbreaking. But, that only pushed me to the point where I’m now, and it made me better.”
On Friday, Whaley pinned Fort Lupton’s Koby Galicia (38-13) in just 1:26 in those previously dreaded semifinals.
He admitted he felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders when he finally burst through the semis.
“I was more nervous for the semis than I was for the finals,” he said. “My family jokes around that I have like a semifinals curse — I can’t make it through the semis. So, it was really cool to go out there and actually get a pin in the semis and end it right away.”
University's Emanuel Munoz-Alcala defeated Alamosa's Logan Thompson for the heavyweight championship Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
University's Emanuel Munoz-Alcala defeated Alamosa's Logan Thompson for the heavyweight championship Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Third period dominance
Who said a big, burly heavyweight wrestler can’t also be a bit of an ironman?
After scoreless first two periods, University junior heavyweight Emanuel Munoz-Alcala closed with a flurry to top Alamosa senior Logan Thompson 5-0 in the 3A heavyweight finals.
With the win, Munoz-Alcala (38-3) completed a remarkable comeback season after missing all of his sophomore campaign with a knee injury.
On Saturday, specifically, there was no need for a comeback.
His reversal with 54 seconds left put him up 2-0, and his near-fall with 26 seconds left was just the cherry on the top.
“I just had the mindset that I’m unstoppable — nobody is going to score a point on me,” Munoz-Alcala said. “If they score a point it’s because I’m letting them score a point. This whole tournament, I’ve been dead set on taking first, knocking down every single top guy in 3A.”
The only time Munoz-Alcala let anyone score a point on him was via a free escape in the first round of the tournament, a match that ended with a pin. He had shutout decisions in the other two matches.
And, now Munoz-Alcala can officially forget about his lost season from a year ago.
“That makes this moment so much more appreciable,” he said. “It’s more valuable, just more sentimental. … But, this was always my goal since freshman year.”
Valley's Isaiah Rios takes Eaton's Dylan Yancey down during their championship match Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Rios defeated Yancey to win the 138-pound championship. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Valley's Isaiah Rios takes Eaton's Dylan Yancey down during their championship match Saturday at the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Rios defeated Yancey to win the 138-pound championship. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Oh, so close
Eaton senior Toby Gavette (38-6) just couldn’t find ample enough opportunity against Jefferson freshman Angelo Lozado (35-11). Lozado edged Gavette 6-3 in the 3A 113-pound championship match.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, Gavette evened the score with a double-leg takedown with 14 seconds left in the second period.
Gavette started the third period on bottom. Lozado locked him in a cradle and scored a pair of near-fall points to go up 4-2 with 1:07 left in the third period.
Gavette recorded an escape with 42 seconds left, but Lozado polished off the win with a takedown with just 1 second left.
Gavette’s senior teammate Dylan Yancey (42-6) trailed Valley’s Isaiah Rios just 2-1 after one period and 6-3 after two periods but he ultimately couldn’t get any closer, as Rios defended Gavette’s scoring attempts nicely.
Still, this is a solid improvement from one year to the next for Yancey, who placed third at state a year ago. Gavette didn’t even place last year.
Brush recorded a pair of runner-up finishes from seniors Oswaldo Nunez (152, 30-7) and Wyatt Pfau (170, 40-4).
Nunez lost by the most narrow of margins, 8-7, to Jefferson junior Nick Gallegos (43-7). Nunez placed third at state a year ago.
Pfau, who won a state title a year ago, had all the early momentum — and a 4-0 lead — against Eaton’s Ty Garnhart in the 170-pound title match, but he couldn’t hold on, giving up the final four points of the match while suffering late from an asthma attack (more on that below).
Platte Valley junior Josh Yancey has faced Valley’s Jaziah Whaley regularly this season.
Yancey lost 8-3 to Whaley in the finals of the Florence Invitational on Jan. 19, and lost to him again via a 13-0 major decision at the Region 2 championship finals on Feb. 16.
For what it’s worth, Yancey’s 7-0 loss to Whaley in the 3A 160-pound finals was among the most competitive matches the dominant Whaley has had this season.
Yancey’s runner-up finish Saturday was an impressive improvement from his sixth-place finish at state a year ago.
Playbook Prime Performance
Boys
Bobby: Ty Garnhart. The Eaton senior may have been the most improbable of the Patriot League’s four state champions. Even though Brush’s Wyatt Pfau wasn’t at his best in the finals, you have to give credit to Garnhart for taking advantage and staying aggressive. And, beating a defending state champion in the state finals is a heckuva feat any way you slice it. This was a wonderful final competitive wrestling match for Garnhart, who plans to enter the work force as an electrician rather than wrestle in college after graduating from high school.
Quinn: Isaiah Rios. I’m sticking with Valley who had a great tournament, especially from the 138-pound sophomore. This was Rios’ first trip to the state tournament (he was ineligible last year because he transferred schools), and it looked like he was a senior who has been there all four years.
Girls
Bobby: Is it even possible to go with anyone other than Valley junior Angel Rios, who made wrestling state tournament history this weekend?
Quinn: Angel Rios. No surprise here. When you make history you’re going to be talked about. And here’s another surprise… we aren’t done talking about her.
Into the History Books
By Quinn Ritzdorf, qritzdorf@patriotplaybook.com
DENVER — Those in the Pepsi Center on Saturday morning witnessed Colorado wrestling history. Valley’s 106-pound wrestler, Angel Rios, became the first girl to make the podium at the traditionally boys state tournament.
She marked her name in the record book when The Classical Academy’s Brendan Johnston forfeited for personal reasons.
Valley's Angel Rios makes history by becoming the first girl to ever place at the boys state tournament via a forfeit from The Classical Academy's Brendan Johnston.
Valley's Angel Rios makes history by becoming the first girl to ever place at the boys state tournament via a forfeit from The Classical Academy's Brendan Johnston.
“Their core values are as such that there is a lot of physical interaction and contact with female wrestlers and for them they don’t want to handle a woman in that manner,” The Classical Academy’s coach Sean Collins said. “Based on their core values and faith, they don’t want to disrespect them and it is his personal decision.”
Rios understood the decision and wasn’t upset by it.
“It’s his decision and I understand that if it’s against his religion,” Rios said. “I have no control over the situation so if that’s what he chooses to do then that’s on him, I guess.”
However, Rios further validated her place on the podium when she defeated Pagosa Springs’ Trevor Torrez 4-2 in sudden victory in a consolation semifinal match moments later. She lost to Torrez in the first round of the tournament Thursday by a 2-1 decision.
Valley's Angel Rios defeats Pagosa Springs' Trevor Torrez by a 4-2 sudden victory to move on to the consolation championship.
Valley's Angel Rios defeats Pagosa Springs' Trevor Torrez by a 4-2 sudden victory to move on to the consolation championship.
“Before the match, my brother told me to shoot, so I just ended up listening to him and I had nothing to lose at that point,” Rios said.
After the emotional win, she began to cry as the referee raised her arm in victory. She then ran into the arms of her coach Ruben Lucero.
Angel Rios' reaction after her 4-2 sudden victory over Pagosa Springs' Trevor Torrez in the state wrestling consolation semis.
Angel Rios' reaction after her 4-2 sudden victory over Pagosa Springs' Trevor Torrez in the state wrestling consolation semis.
“It was relief because it was what I was working for for the past 15 years,” Rios said.
She moved on to the consolation championship — the third-place match — where she faced off against Weld Central’s Robert Estrada for the fourth time this season. Estrada got the best of her in the Valley Invitational earlier this month with a 2-0 decision.
“This was our third or fourth time wrestling each other this year,” Rios said. “We know how each other wrestles. So, I knew it was going to be a challenge.”
Angel Rios discusses her matches throughout the tournament, what it means to her to make history and what's in store for next year.
Angel Rios discusses her matches throughout the tournament, what it means to her to make history and what's in store for next year.
This match again was tight. Rios was behind 3-2 in the third period but couldn’t find a way to get the final points to win. She finished fourth, the highest any girl has ever placed in the boys state tournament.
And she wasn’t the only girl on the podium. Skyview’s Jaslynn Gallegos wrote her name in the record book right alongside Rios’. Gallegos placed fifth with an impressive 53-second pin against Pagosa Springs’ Trevor Torrez in the fifth-place match. Rios was happy to have another girl next to her on the podium.
Valley's Angel Rios (4th) and Skyview's Jaslynn Gallegos (5th) make Colorado wrestling history by becoming the first girls to ever place at the boys' state tournament. (Photo by Quinn Ritzdorf)
Valley's Angel Rios (4th) and Skyview's Jaslynn Gallegos (5th) make Colorado wrestling history by becoming the first girls to ever place at the boys' state tournament. (Photo by Quinn Ritzdorf)
“Me and her pretty much grew up together, so I would rather have her than anyone else up there with me,” Rios said.
To add to the festivities, CHSAA invited Brooke Sauer, the first girl to ever qualify for the boys state tournament back in 2006, to hand out the medals to both Rios and Gallegos. 
Valley's Angel Rios, left, and Skyview's Jaslynn Gallegos, right, received their medals from the first girl to ever qualify for the boys state tournament back in 2006, Brooke Sauer, middle.
Valley's Angel Rios, left, and Skyview's Jaslynn Gallegos, right, received their medals from the first girl to ever qualify for the boys state tournament back in 2006, Brooke Sauer, middle.
However, this isn’t the last you will see Rios. She’s wants to write her name in the history books again, this time as the first girl to ever win a state title at the boys tournament. 
Pfau Out of Breath
In the 170-pound championship between Eaton’s Ty Garnhart and Brush’s defending champion, Wyatt Pfau, the senior Beetdiggers wrestler had to take multiple medical timeouts to use his inhaler.
As the match wore on, he looked more and more out of breath. By the end of the third period and overtime, Pfau looked woozy and dazed.
This is not to take anything away from the state champion, Garnhart, who fought an unbelievable and relentless match.
One of the Brush assistant coaches said Pfau suffers from asthma and has had a couple asthma attacks during wrestling matches. The latest coming against Garnhart earlier in the season.
Valley's Angel Rios won her consolation semifinal round match and avenged her only loss by beating Pagosa Springs Trevor Torrez on Saturday morning during the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Rios won by earning a 4-2 sudden victory in overtime. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Valley's Angel Rios won her consolation semifinal round match and avenged her only loss by beating Pagosa Springs Trevor Torrez on Saturday morning during the Class 3A Wrestling Championships at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Rios won by earning a 4-2 sudden victory in overtime. (Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
The Patriot Best
Here are the best things we saw from the past week:
Quinn: I’m going to continue to ride the Angel Rios train here and I’ll tell you why. There are very few things in sports that make me emotional.
Scroll up and watch the videos of Rios’ win against Pagosa Springs’ Trevor Torrez (who she lost to in the first round of the tournament) and her reaction and raw emotion.
Watching her win that match gave me goosebumps and almost brought me to tears. Again there are very few things in sports that will do that to me … this was one of them.
Bobby: Call my choice simplistic.
Heck, call it a cop-out.
I’m going with the state wrestling tournament, as a whole.
This three-day affair at the Pepsi Center is truly the biggest spectacle CHSAA puts on every year. And, once again, the Patriot League was well represented!
On a side note, Eaton deserves huge props for placing second in the 3A team race for the second year in a row — second only to powerhouse Alamosa.
Players of the Week
Vote on Twitter for your boy and girl Patriot League Player of the Week. The performances are from Feb. 17-24.
Boys Player of the Week
Isaiah Rios (Valley wrestling) — The sophomore won the 3A 138-pound state wrestling championship against fellow Patriot Leaguer Dylan Yancey of Eaton via a 7-3 decision on Saturday. (Vote here)
Jaziah Whaley (Valley wrestling) — The junior won the 3A 160-pound state wrestling championship against the other Yancey, Josh Yancey of Platte Valley via a 7-0 decision on Saturday. (Vote here)
Ty Garnhart (Eaton wrestling) — The senior won the 3A 170-pound state wrestling championship against another fellow Patriot Leaguer in Wyatt Pfau of Brush via a 7-5 sudden victory on Saturday. (Vote here)
Emanuel Munoz-Alcala (University wrestling) — The junior won the 3A heavyweight state wrestling championship against Alamosa’s Logan Thompson via a 5-0 decision. (Vote here)
Vote for the boys Player of the Week on Twitter (click here).
Girls Player of the Week
Angel Rios (Valley wrestling) — The junior finished fourth in the 3A 106-pound boys state wrestling tournament on Saturday. She made Colorado wrestling history by becoming the first girl to ever place in a the boys tournament. (Vote here)
Sydney Booth (Eaton basketball) — The senior led the Reds to a district championship with 35 points and 24 rebounds over the three games. (Vote here)
Brooke Bunting (Platte Valley basketball) — The freshman led the Broncos to second in the district tournament with 29 points, 21 rebounds and eight assists in the three games. (Vote here)
Lauren Gamlin (Liberty Common) — The junior finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds during three games in the district tournament. Her performance was highlighted by a 15-point, 10-steal double-double in a 55-37 win over Estes Park on Friday. (Vote here)
Vote for the girls Player of the Week on Twitter (click here).
Scoreboard
Team-by-team Patriot League results in the 3A state wrestling tournament
Brush
  • Team finish: Tied-ninth, 64 points
  • Placewinners: 152 — Oswaldo Nunez, sr. (30-7), 2nd; 170 — Wyatt Pfau, sr. (40-4), 2nd; 182 — Nick Wellen, jr. (34-10), 5th; 195 — Thomas Mettlen, sr. (30-16), 6th 
Eaton
  • Team finish: Second, 105 points (first-place Alamosa had 141.5 points)
  • Placewinners: 113 — Toby Gavette, sr. (38-6), 2nd; 138 — Dylan Yancey, sr. (42-6), 2nd; 170 — Ty Garnhart, sr. (42-5), 1st; 285 — Jeremy Murano, sr. (37-5), 3rd
Estes Park
  • Team finish: Tied-42nd, four points
Platte Valley
  • Team finish: Tied-15th, 37 points
  • Placewinners: 160 — Josh Yancey, jr. (27-10), 2nd; 182 — Colton Moore, sr. (29-9), 4th
Resurrection Christian
  • Team finish: Tied-47th, zero points
Sterling
  • Team finish: 18th, 35 points
  • Placewinners: 126 — Zach Loft, sr. (41-3), 3rd; 220 — Drew Book, jr. (34-5), 5th
Strasburg
  • Team finish: Tied-44th, three points
University
  • Team finish: Tied-24th, 24 points
  • Placewinners: 285 — Emanuel Munoz-Alcala, jr. (38-3), 1st
Valley
  • Team finish: Sixth, 88 points
  • Placewinners: 106 — Angel Rios, jr. (27-5), 4th; 126 — Noah Damian, jr. (26-11), 5th; 138 — Isaiah Rios, soph. (31-1), 1st; 160 — Jaziah Whaley, jr. (42-1), 1st
Coming up in Wednesday's edition of The Playbook
We’ll go around the league and look at what’s next (postseason or spring season) for each of the league’s 11 schools.
As always, thank you for reading! See you Wednesday!
Bobby Fernandez, The Playbook Publisher
Quinn Ritzdorf, The Playbook Reporter
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