High School Wrestler Forfeits State Championship Match Because It Was a Against a Girl: 'I Don't Want to Treat a Young Lady Like That'

Wrestling
[File photo] Spenser Mango's shoes are seen on the mat in retirement after losing his Greco-Roman 59kg semifinal match to Jesse Thielke during day 1 of the Olympic Team Wrestling Trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 9, 2016 in Iowa City, Iowa. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

A wrestler in Colorado willingly gave up the chance of placing in the state tournament as he didn't want to fight a girl.

Brendan Johnston was scheduled to wrestle Angel Rios at the Pepsi Center in Denver for third-place in the 106-pound weight class in the consolation bracket, but declined to do so when he realized who his opponent was.

"I'm not really comfortable with a couple of things with wrestling a girl," Johnston told The Denver Post. "The physical contact, there's a lot of it in wrestling.

"And I guess the physical aggression, too. I don't want to treat a young lady like that on the mat. Or off the mat. And not to disrespect the heart or the effort that she's put in. That's not what I want to do, either."

It was not the first time Johnston had taken such a decision either. A wrestler from Colorado Springs-based charter school The Classical Academy, Johnston accumulated a 37-6 record during his senior year.

Incredibly, five of those six defeats were a forfeit and four of them came against Rios. On Saturday, with Johnston and Rios set to face each other in the third round of the Class 3A consolation stage, the former informed the officials he would not be taking part in the match.

His decision was accepted and Rios was declared the winner of the bout.

Johnston defended his decision, insisting refusing to take on female competitors did not mean he disrespected them.

"I think it's possible to forfeit while still respecting them as athletes and competitors. I really don't want to disrespect the hard work these ladies have put in," he explained.

"They've done a lot of that too. Some people think by forfeiting I'm disrespecting them. That's not my intention at all."

The self-inflicted loss to Rios on Saturday brought an end to Johnston's high school wrestling career, but he insisted he was happy with his choice.

"Wrestling is something we do, it's not who we are," Johnston added. "And there are more important things to me than my wrestling. And I'm willing to have those priorities."

Rios eventually finished fourth in the Class 3A 106-pound class and became the first female to place at the Colorado state tournament. Jaslynn Gallegos, who finished fifth in the same weight class, had also been scheduled to fight Johnston earlier in the tournament, but he forfeited the match.

"It's his decision and I understand that if it's against his religion," Rios was quoted as saying by The Greeley Tribune. "I have no control over the situation, so if that's what he chooses to do then that's on him I guess."

High School Wrestler Forfeits State Championship Match Because It Was a Against a Girl: 'I Don't Want to Treat a Young Lady Like That' | Sports