Longtime Colorado Springs high school wrestling coach Matt Brickell stepping down, but he's not done coaching

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Photo - The Coronado wrestling team celebrates their 5A Colorado State Championship with coach Matt Brickell Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, at the Pepsi Center in Denver.  It was the first state championship from a Colorado Springs team since Wasson High won in 1974. ( The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
The Coronado wrestling team celebrates their 5A Colorado State Championship with coach Matt Brickell Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, at the Pepsi Center in Denver. It was the first state championship from a Colorado Springs team since Wasson High won in 1974. ( The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Matt Brickell called it quits from wrestling in 2013, but the sport had a tighter hold on him than he'd thought.

As he tries to retire from the sport again, four years later, he does so unrestrained.

"It's a young guys' sport," said Brickell, the longtime Coronado High School, by phone Sunday. "When you get older you go, 'Whoa, I've got to back off here a little bit.' It's just time - it's probably four years overdue."`

Brickell admits he'd also had thoughts of leaving after the previous three seasons coming into this year, but was always convinced to stay.

He was close to stepping away following the 2016 season, but after the Cougars were hit with late injuries and faltered to 33rd at state, he wanted to give it one more go.

His team came back strong this year and sent three wrestlers into the state finals in February. In his final match, Brickell stood next to the first state champion he coached, Gabe Burak, who is the team's assistant coach, and witnessed Jimmy Weaver win the 182-pound title to become his 14th and what he assures will be his last wrestling champion as head coach.

"These last two years I kind of guilted him to staying around," Weaver said. "It meant a lot."

Brickell's retirement from wrestling comes with the hope of spending more time with family while not axing his coaching passion for good. He looks to have found a nice balance as he took over the girls' soccer program this spring with his daughter, Leah, on the team.

"It's always been about family for me and this is the route I want to go now," Brickell said. "I used to be able to be a head coach for two sports, but now it's so much work. It's kind of crazy."

Brickell retired from teaching after 30 years in 2011, the same year he led the Cougars to a state title. He also coached the boys' soccer team at the school for 26 years.

Widefield wins Pikes Peak Invitational

Coach Fred Marjerrison refused to read too much into his boys' track and field team's early season win Saturday.

Still, it's not a bad place to start.

Widefield won six events as it claimed the Pikes Peak Invitational at Garry Berry Stadium with 153 points. Coronado finished second (143) and Pine Creek was third (96) in the 12-team invite.

"I try not to get too high or too low," Marjerrison said. "It's just a good start. How about that?

"Some of the performances were good. I was shocked by a few young kids, but I'm not going to be overly excited about a win. I'm just glad kids got an opportunity to compete against some other kids."

The Gladiators, who tied for 22nd at the 4A state meet last season, have shown some flashy potential this spring.

Maximilliano Martinez won the 1,600 (4:37) and Cole Munoz took the 3,200 (10:07). They both led the team to a program-best second-place finish at state cross country in the fall.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel Miller, who was fifth in discus at state as junior, won the event Saturday with a throw of 143 feet, 1 inch.

Manitou's Vecchio plans on returning for 32nd season

Manitou Springs coach Ken Vecchio says he plans on coaching the school's boys' basketball team for at least one more season.

Retirement, though, may not be far behind.

"I think I'm going to teach for one more year and then I'm thinking about retiring after that," he said. "Plan on being around for another go-around."

Vecchio's 31st season came to an end Thursday in the 3A state quarterfinals.

Senior Lucas Rodholm led the way with a career-high 30 points but the No. 2 Mustangs fell 58-50 to Sterling, which won the state title.