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Wrestling: Broomfield’s Ryan Vigil named wrestler of the year

Two-time champ dominated field after moving up weight classes

DENVER, CO, Feb. 19, 2022: Ryan ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
DENVER, CO, February 19, 2022: Ryan Vigil, of Broomfield, wins state at 152 pounds during the finals of the Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Ball Arena in Denver on February 19, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

The disciplines accrued from the wrestling mat bleed out into the everyday for Broomfield grappling star Ryan Vigil.

The two-time state champion senior says overcoming the daunting tasks in his daily routine — whether it’s a school assignment or facing a deficit in the state title match — is a discipline he’s learned through the hardships of the sport.

He knows choosing his college and next home for wrestling will require the same persistence and belief.

“When I missed weight at regionals my freshman year I wanted to give up, it was on my mind to quit,” recalled the newly named 2022 wrestler of the year. “I was cutting a lot of weight all season and for it to be gone so fast and have nothing to show for it and to be so disappointed I wanted to quit, and I debated it. But wrestling my whole life, and being in those situations my whole life, I knew I couldn’t.

He cracked, “and you see, it worked out.”

Vigil, during a state tournament where he looked dominant and ruthless on the mat, and sounded philosophical and uplifting after matches, eventually claimed his second straight title.

Following his 138-pound championship win over Erie grad Rudy Lopez the year before, Vigil steamrolled through the Class 4A 152s bracket at Ball Arena with three pins to reach the championship.

In the finals, facing a bigger state moment than the watered-down, pandemic-restricted version in Pueblo the season before, Vigil ignored the lights, the music, the fans. Down 1-0 going into the third period against Pueblo East’s Sebastian Freeman, he got a quick reversal to push ahead, then held on for a 2-1 victory.

“The doubt did cross my mind that I could lose the match, but it’s something I had to kick out,” Vigil said. “I knew that I had done enough (training) leading up to win a match like that. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy going in and I knew he was a tough opponent … But I was confident.  You have to be confident in your training, confident in your mindset, and you have to know you can do it.”

Vigil, listed as a 4 ½-star wrestler on, had dominated in-state competition during the season as two of his three losses came in big-time tournaments outside Colorado.

Among his best showings, he swept opponents at an early-season, 43-team tournament in Grand Junction. There, he beat Highland’s eventual 2A state champ Zach Tittle. He also had two pins and a tech fall in a convincing win at the Front Range League championships, and had three more lopsided victories at the regional in his school’s gymnasium the week before state.

“I think the big thing for Ryan Vigil is he does everything he can, he works so hard,” Broomfield coach Jimmy Zechmann said at Ball Arena last month. “What everyone sees is right now, but they don’t see all those hours he spends outside of it. The hours working up at Bear Cave, working to get better. All summer long, all the travel, all the expenses, all they see is this moment, these six minutes. But he’s put so much time and energy into it.”

Vigil, who has long been training with decorated coach and former two-time Division-I All-American wrestler Ben VomBaur, says he is still deciding where he’ll wrestle next.

Among schools in play, he said, are the University of Northern Colorado, Air Force Academy, Adams State and Chadron State (Nebraska).

“It’s a tough decision but when I make it, I will have confidence in it,” Vigil said.