The Smithers Secondary wrestling came back from provincial championships in Prince George last weekend with two individual first place finishes and a podium finish in the team event.
Alex Schell and Jamie Tersago led the charge for the Gryphons, finishing first in both of their weight classes. The wins gave the girl’s team a third overall finish out of the 68 schools in attendance.
Ranked second heading into the tournament, Tersago advanced through the quarter- and semi-finals with relative ease, but the final was a different story.
Tersago scored two points on a takedown in the first round, then opted for a more cautious, defensive strategy to protect her lead.
Her opponent scored one point on an out-of-bounds push to cut the lead in half. Then, as time ticked down in the second round, Tersago was cautioned for passive wrestling, giving her opponent another point for the tie. But Tersago’s two-point takedown proved to be the difference; the high scoring move counting as the first tiebreaker.
“I was pretty happy with the result,” head coach Don Roy said. “She was definitely capable of scoring more points, but she wanted to hold on to the win.”
In the 47 kg bracket, Tersago’s teammate and defending provincial champion Alex Schell was looking to rebound after losing to her main rival, Penticton’s Alicia Kroker, earlier in the year.
Schell also won her first three matches, setting up a rematch with Kroker, which she dominated.
She took an early lead over Kroker and cruised to a 9-5 victory.
“It was awesome,” Roy said. “She was in total control the whole time. She was in a great head space. It was a really nice piece of wrestling.”
On the boys side, Alex Weme didn’t finish on the podium, but he gave a gutsy performance in the quarter-finals.
After going down 9-0 in the first round, he came all the way back to defeat his opponent 11-10. Both girls are heading to Edmonton next week to train with the University of Alberta wrestling team before competing in national juniors the following weekend.
After that, they’ll travel to Guelph for the Canadian national championships.
“I want them to wrestle their best,” Roy said. “If they do, the results will take care of themselves.”
The season is winding down for the Gryphons wrestling team, though they will continue to practice through the Spring in preparation for a variety of summer games.