DENVER — For the first time at this weekend’s state wrestling championships at Ball Arena, Broomfield’s Ryan Vigil needed the full six minutes of a match to claim victory.
Really, though, his camp would say his second straight state title was a manufacture of every last hour of training, every single moment he sat with a victory or defeat.
“Whatever everyone sees is right now,” Broomfield coach Jimmy Zechmann said. “But they don’t see all the hours he spends here. They see this one moment, these six minutes but he’s spent so much time and energy.”
Bouncing back after an early takedown to pin his third straight state opponent in Cheyenne Mountain’s Raife Manjarrez in Friday’s semifinals, Vigil rallied with a third-period reversal to beat Sebastian Freeman of Pueblo East by a 2-1 decision Saturday night.
Vigil’s Class 4A 152-pound title followed his first championship last season when he beat Erie grad Rudy Lopez in the 138 finals.
Then, due to the pandemic, wrestlers were allowed just two fans apiece as a condensed tournament field took place away from Ball Arena, in Pueblo. Now back at full capacity, this title trip was a whole different experience for the Broomfield senior.
“The lights are insane, the music gets you in the moment and the fans are going nuts,” Vigil said. “It’s the most insane environment you could get.”
Vigil said he had butterflies going into the match. He even felt some nerves down 1-0 heading into the final period.
But this is the moment he’d long trained for and prepared.
After his wins Friday and Saturday, he attributed part of his success to the lessons he’d learned from the heartache of his freshman and sophomore seasons when he missed weight at regionals and lost a state match he believed he never should have.
Before he toed the podium, he believed a champion’s mindset had already grown.
“It has to. If you have a weak mindset you aren’t going to win many matches,” Vigil said. “You might win a few based off talent and skill, but you aren’t going to win tight bouts like that. You have to have confidence in yourself.”
Vigil was one of two Broomfield-area wrestlers to reach the bigger-school state finals and was its lone champion.
Legacy’s Gavin Funk lost in a 5-3 decision to Chaparral’s Geoff Freeman. Freeman was able to record a takedown in the final second to break the tie for gold.
Funk qualified for the state tournament in three straight years but went 0-for-2 his first two trips. The turnaround his senior year Funk said was a credit to his father Michael, who was an assistant coach for the Lightning.
“It was because of my dad in the room, beating up on me,” Funk said. “It’s nice to have. He worked with me every practice and got me ready.”