Reuben Hunter, right, grapples with a coach during wrestling practice Jan. 15 at Smithers Secondary School. (Thom Barker photo)

Smithers wrestler tops podium in Prince George

Reuben Hunter wins his weight class and is named most outstanding wrestler at Kelly Road tournament

A Smithers Secondary School wrestler topped the podium in the 68kg class at the prestigious Kelly Road wrestling tournament in Prince George last weekend.

Reuben Hunter (Grade 11) was in tough against one of the top-ranked high school wrestlers in the province in the semi-finals Jan. 12 dropping the first eight points. However, he roared back with 18 straight points of his own to take the match 18-8.

“It was good, it was fun,” he said. “There was one guy there who I’ve wrestled a few times and he’s pretty good, so it was nice to beat him.”

Head coach Addison Bree said it goes beyond the other guy being pretty good.

“There was one kid in his weight class who’s in Grade 12 this year, but last year he got fourth at provincials and he’ll be the top-ranked kid going into provincials probably this year and Reuben beat him 18-nothing, he scored 18 straight points on him,” Bree said. “That in itself was the biggest deal, just going out there and putting a beating on that kid.”

Hunter would go on to win the 68kg final 10-0 and was named the most outstanding wrestler of the tournament.

Hunter, who started wrestling in Grade 6, said it came naturally to him.

“I have five brothers, so we did it lots growing up,” he said.

Nevertheless, he credits the SSS program for his competitive success.

“The coaching is really good,” he said.

The coach, though, says Hunter has a champion’s qualities.

“He’s ultra-competitive and he’s got a real will to want to win,” Bree said.

“Reuben’s homeschooled and they have a pretty active lifestyle, so he’s always in really good shape and not many guys can match his cardio, so the biggest thing is just his fitness level and his attitude.”

Right now, Hunter is focussed on getting ready for provincials Feb. 15 -17 in Langley, but he is kind of looking further ahead as well.

“I do want to go on to university,” he said. “I’m not 100 per cent sure what I want to do now but I’d definitely like to take it further.”

Bree has no doubt Hunter will do well, if that’s what he decides to do.

“That’s our biggest focus here, is to continue to try to create the kind of student athlete that can get kids into university,” the coach said.

“If Reuben goes on to university, for sure he’s going to hit high success. He has an awesome work ethic and there’s no denying he would reach the top at any level.”

As far as the high school program goes, Hunter said there’s just one thing that would make it better.

“It would be great if there were more kids who came out,” he said.

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