The Smithers Secondary wrestling team tapped their way to victory this weekend as they hosted the Northwest Zone competitions and landed some key victories to clinch a provincial berth.
Smithers, Charles Hays, Houston Christian, and Houston Secondary were all on hand for the event, adding a few new wrestlers to the growing competition in the North. This year HSS and HCS started a new wrestling program with 10 wrestlers and already have proven to be a force to reckon with.
Houston athletes like Trent Siemens, who landed solid finishes all day and clinched a first place victory in the 74 kilogram weight division, said it’s all about agility and gripping your opponent before he gets you.
“In our first tournament everyone medaled except one, and in our second tournament three of us medaled so were all pretty much the same,” said Siemens. “I think there have been opportunities where we could have done better. We’re hoping to win zones but we’ll see if that happens. Get a first year team winning a banner would be pretty sweet.”
Although HSS didn’t win zones overall they still have a couple of athletes committed to provincials. However, with a new program underway head coach Randy Chapman is already very pleased with the team’s performance and hopes to see it continue.
“It’s going sweet. We missed a few tournaments otherwise we’d have a lot more medals,” said Chapman. “But they are placing in the top five every time, I like that, and now they’re hopefully going to win zones and then it’s off to Provincials to play with the big boys.”
Smithers on the other hand is business as usual, securing multiple wins at Zones as well as having a couple of contenders head for provincials later this month in Penticton.
“We have two strong contenders, Alix Hassel and Alex Schell,” says Don Roy, SSS Gryphons head coach. “So we’re looking at big improvements in their performances and the both have a shot at it if all goes well.”
A young competitor, Sa-yez Wilson, also has noticed a surge in his own athleticism. After two years on the mats he’s beginning to see where his strengths and weakness lie and knows how to get out of a tough situation after a tight match-up against Houston.
“It was pretty fun,” Wilson said. “We tied in the first match but he got the first throw so it was a two-two but he did a double-point throw so he won the first match but then I pinned him in the second match and I won.”
Although the Gryphons lost their top five wrestlers from last year, who clinched provincials for the northern squad, Roy says all their wrestlers are progressing well and have shown they definitely have what it takes to achieve what their predecessors have.
“We’re doing good so far, we haven’t lost yet,” said Roy. “We have a lot of new guys especially this year. We lost the five really good girls that won the Provincials last year, but we have a new batch of girls, top three girls coming out and they’re doing well, they’re progressing to where they’d like to, so we’ll be taking a few down to Provincials.”
Alix Hassel, Jamie Tersago, Aimee Gagnier and Alex Schell all placed first in their respective divisions. In the boys category Devon Ambridge, Andrew Schmidt, Sa-Yez Wilson and Aidan Watson also placed first in their divisions, followed by Eric Holland and Stefan Bichimaier finished in second and third in the 74 kilogram division to round out the zone standings.