The Smithers Secondary wrestling team continues to build momentum, most recently placing second overall at the Nechako Valley Secondary School Vike’s Invitational wrestling tournament.
This result is almost identical to the first tournament in Prince George, with a few changes to the roster of competing athletes. All five athletes visited the podium, with one gold, one silver, two bronzes, and one fourth-place finish.
Eryn Wilkins, improving on her bronze medal from the week prior, wrestled her way to the gold medal in the 63kg weight class. Her first match was against a familiar opponent who defeated her by technical superiority (ten-point lead in points) in the first tournament.
Wilkins made all the correct adjustments, not allowing a single point to be scored on her, and ultimately winning by pinning her opponent with a final score of 6-0. She won all of her matches in the competition either by technical superiority or fall.
Grade nine wrestler Eavan Sullivan show all her grit and toughness and made it to the finals before suffering her first loss. She claimed silver in the 50kg weight class, but had an excellent first tournament of the year.
Grade ten athlete Locke James competed in his first-ever wrestling tournament, and showed a lot of physical expertise as he brought home the bronze medal in the 72kg weight class.
Travis Stephens, with a streak of intensity and meanness, also took home bronze in the 68kg weight class.
Finally Grade 8 wrestler Tristan Harris wrestled his way to 4th place in the 50kg weight class, entertaining the crowd with some dynamic slams from his double leg takedown move.
Missing from action were three medalists from the Prince George tournament. Taya Endacott, who placed first, Tyde Elliot who wrestled his way to a silver medal, and Simon Love who achieved bronze in his first-ever competition, were all unable to attend the tournament due to various reasons.
Also missing was Fiona Sullivan, one of the top-ranked female wrestlers in B.C., who has yet to make her tournament debut of the season.
Head coach Addison Bree is more than pleased with all the results.
“I didn’t expect to be placing second at these tournaments with such a young and small team, but these kids continue to surprise me,” he said.
He is hoping to build the wrestling program back up to the level that it was under coaches Mike Richey and Don Roy.
“We’ve got a committed crew of competition-minded athletes, and hopefully our success this year will draw in more kids next season.”
Bree also hopes to get an elementary program up and running in the future to help grow the size of the high school team.
“In order to compete with the Vanderhoof Vikes and the larger teams from the Lower Mainland, we need more athletes,” he explained.
Team titles are decided by pooling all of the individual results, with bigger weight classes earning more individual points.
“As one of the smaller teams in the province, we’ll have a tough time competing for first place overall, based on the number of athletes these other teams have.”
The wrestling team is looking forward to the annual holiday camp that will give them extra practice time to prepare for the Shas Ti Kelly Road tournament that takes place in Prince George on January 7.
With a full competition squad, the team is hoping to bring home even more hardware in the new year.