May 2019 – During Colorado’s high school wrestling tournament in late February, Brendan Johnston, a senior wrestler from Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, garnered national attention when he forfeited his third-round match to a female opponent, Angel Rios. Johnston came into his final high school tournament with a record of 37-6, 5 of those losses also forfeited to girl opponents.
His final forfeiture ended Johnston’s chance at a state title. He based his decision never to wrestle girls on his personal beliefs as a Christian.
Johnston explained, “I’m not really comfortable with a couple of things with wrestling a girl. 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.”
Even though the forfeiture could negatively impact his collegiate wrestling opportunities, Johnston said, “There are bigger things than wrestling.”
denverpost.com, 2/23/19; washingtonpost.com, 3/1/19