A Smithers wrestler is on his way to the national high school wrestling championships following a bronze medal performance at provincials last month.
Reuben Hunter placed third at the competition in Langley February 16-17. In six matches, his only loss was to Ryan Hicks of Maple Ridge Secondary School, who would go on to win the gold.
In Hunter’s final match he pinned Elliot Reaume-Kielpins, from Centennial Secondary School in Coquitlam, in 50 seconds, to secure the bronze.
The third place finish qualifies Hunter to wrestle at Nationals in Edmonton April 3-5.
Earlier this year, Hunter won gold in his 68kg division at the prestigious Kelly Road tournament in Prince George and qualified for provincials by winning the zone championship in Prince Rupert in the 66kg class.
Head coach Addison Bree has been working to rekindle interest in wrestling in the Bulkley Valley.
“We’re hoping that Reuben’s success and any exposure will attract kids to come out and join the wrestling club,” he said.
Bree believes there are benefits that go beyond the sport.
“Wrestling builds character, teaches kids how to overcome obstacles, handle their emotions, respect authority, the importance of being a good teammate, and that success has to be earned through hard work and determination,” he said.
Reuben Hunter Provincial Results:
Match 1: Beat Anthony Babich from Argyle Secondary School, technical superiority in the first round (1:05, 12 – 1).
Match 2: Beat Taran Bhatti from WJ Mouat Secondary School, technical superiority in the first round (1:00, 11 – 0)
Match 3: Beat Greyson Zurba from Salmon Arm Secondary School, technical superiority in the first round (2:34, 13 – 2)
Match 4: Lost to Ryan Hicks from Maple Ridge Secondary School, technical superiority in the second round.
Match 5: Beat Kourosh Rafizadeh from Pinetree Secondary School, pinned in the second (0:16, 14 – 6).
Match 6: Beat Elliot Reaume-Kielpins from Centennial Secondary School, pinned in the first round (2:10, 2 – 2).