Wrestlers Alex Schell and Jamie Tersago are headed to the Canada Summer Games.
The Smithers Secondary School athletes qualified for the national competition through their results at the provincial championship earlier this season and with solid performances at the trials in May.
Schell is wrestling in the 46-kg division and said working on her cardio is a major focus for her in preparation for the games.
“I need to get my fitness back up,” she said.
Schell must also gain more experience wrestling against opponents with a similar body type to hers — lean and tall — Coach Don Roy said.
“When she wrestles girls like Jamie, it doesn’t bother her because she’s used to wrestling short, explosive people,” he said.
“It’s when she gets up against taller, lankier people where she might have some problems.”
Tersago is competing in the 56-kg class, a jump from where she normally wrestles at 52 kgs, but said she sees this as an advantage.
“I think it will be good because I’ll be faster than them so I think it will work out well,” she said.
“I’ll be working on engaging and initiating the attack more and just wrestling smoother.”
Coach Don Roy said for Jamie it is all about gaining more experience as she is only a second-year wrestler.
“Jamie’s got the defence part pretty much figured out and she’s got some good offensive techniques,” he said.
“Now she has to string it together and learn how to execute it all under pressure.
“The more you wrestle, the more experience you gain and the easier it is to do because you’re not panicking.”
In preparation, the girls are attending training camps in California and Idaho over the next month-and-a-half.
These trips are self-funded and Roy said they are in need of some financial help to allow the wrestlers to attend the camps.
“We’re scrambling, trying to find ways to cover the costs,” he said.
“If someone out there has a few hundred Air Miles they aren’t using, we would love to have them.”
Regardless of their results at Canada Summer Games, this wrestling season has already been very successful for the two Gryphons.
Earlier this year, Schell was crowned provincial champion in the 47-kg division and Tersago earned a silver in the 54-kg class.
Also, in April, Schell placed third at the Cadet/Juvenile National Championships in Saskatoon.
“It’s been quite a journey,” Roy said.
“They’re on the right trajectory, they have the right mindset, they just have to keep trying to get better.
The Canada Summer Games run August 2 to 17 in Sherbrooke, Que.