Eaglecrest girls wrestling star Blythe Cayko, second from right, earned All-American status with a third-place finish at the 16U women’s freestyle wrestling tournament in Fargo, North Dakota. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

Defending state champion Blythe Cayko of the Eaglecrest girls wrestling team earned All-American status to highlight a trip by some local wrestlers to Fargo, North Dakota.

Last season’s Colorado state champion at 185 pounds, Cayko finished 4-1 at 200 pounds in the 16U women’s freestyle tournament against a grueling field of competition from the across the country as she rebounded from a loss to the eventual runner-up (Mariyah Brumley of Missouri) with a win over Florida’s Cheyenne Cruce in the third-place match.

The result earned her All-American status, which she also achieved during the season when she won the title at the Reno Tournament of Champions.

Cayko was part of a team of elite Colorado girls wrestlers that included two champions and tied with Pennsylvania for sixth place in the tournament, which featured scoring teams from 35 states and more that did not register a point.

Horacio Vialpondo Jr., who has been hard at work since he was hired as Eaglecrest’s new girls wrestling coach, helped coach the Colorado team and saw Cayko rise to the challenge against top competition.

“When you out here, you are facing the best kids in the country, which is why we come to these things,” Vialpondo said. “It pushes her a little bit harder.

Following the 16U tournament was the junior nationals, which saw a local contingent that included Cayko, Chasey Karabell and Scarlett Williams from Eaglecrest along with Kaiya Winbush and Amaya Green (Cherokee Trail) and Gianna Falise (Grandview), who wrestle with the Eaglecrest co-op team in the winter. All experienced various levels of success against a difficult field.

Eaglecrest also had some boys in the competition in recently graduated heavweight Mike Witt along with juniors-to-be Ethan Diaz and Dalton Leivian.

USA Wrestling said the tournament drew 6,646 competitors (boys and girls in a variety of age groups) from across the country, making it the largest wrestling tournament in the world. The 16U women’s freestyle tournament had 169 more competitors than in 2021 and the junior freestyle women’s competition experienced growth of 281 up to nearly 1,000.

“There were 27 mats going at the same time and we couldn’t even find a place to warm up,” Vialpondo said. “I think it was a great experience and we expect all of the kids to show the growth next season.”

Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

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RICHARD COZZETTE
RICHARD COZZETTE
16 days ago

Awesome Coverage of High School Sports!