The Smithers Secondary wrestling team is starting off the season strong with two gold-medal wins at their first tournament of the year in Prince George.
Senior and and former two-time provincial champion Alex Schell brought home a gold medal in the 47 kilogram weight class, defeating two opponents from Prince George and Vanderhoof in the Prince George Icebreaker Tournament on Dec. 6.
“She’s so dominant in her weight class in the North; she’s wrestled now for five years and been on the B.C. team to the summer games,” said head coach Don Roy.
“In the North here, none of her opponents really challenge her, she just has to take it easy on them and go gentle.”
According to Roy, Schell uses her stature to her advantage.
“She’s only 47 kilos, but she’s quite tall and lanky and she uses that to her advantage,” he said.
Roy added that Schell will also make the trip down to Vancouver this week to compete in a tournament called War on the Floor.
“We don’t normally go down there, but Alex needs to get to some better competition,” said Roy, adding that she’ll travel with the Prince George team.
One of the team’s newest wrestlers, Amanda Holland also won gold in her weight class, defeating both her Prince George and Mackenzie opponents by 10-0 scores.
“For a first-year wrestler, that’s very good,” he said. “She had good defence, she sprawled really well and got behind the girls . . . she would push them down and get around behind and she did a really good job of that.”
Last weekend, three junior players hit the mat in Vanderhoof for a tournament as well.
Brothers Alex and Micah Weme both won the 60 and 40 kilogram weight classes, respectively. While Holland went undefeated.
While the season just kicked off, Roy said many junior wrestlers have lots of potential heading into the new year.
“[Amanda] is learning fast. She comes to practice and she works hard and she’s focused. I see a lot of potential. But the first year, they’ll lose some matches that they wish they hadn’t lost, but that’s just the way it goes,” said Roy.
“I hope everybody gets better. That’s my only goal, I just want them to improve.”
The tournament over the weekend was the team’s last chance to compete before the Christmas break.
They will be back on the mat in January for a tournament in Prince George.