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‘Best feeling in my entire life’: Salmon Arm wrestler captures gold at high school championships

Eve Maxwell grateful to coach Ray Munsie, who couldn’t attend event for health reasons
Eve Maxwell, holding the trophy for Most Outstanding Female Wrestler, and Salmon Arm Secondary wrestling coach Ray Munsie share a moment to celebrate her victory at the BC High School Wrestling Championships. Munsie was unable to attend for health reasons, but was watching her online and called her between matches. (Kelly Murray photo)

Eve Maxwell is at the top of her game and has the hardware to prove it.

The Salmon Arm Secondary (SAS) Grade 12 wrestler captured a gold medal in the BC High School Wrestling Championships held Feb. 24-26 at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum. On top of that, she was also recognized for Most Outstanding Match and given the Lyndsay Belisle trophy for Most Outstanding Female Wrestler.

“This is pretty much two years in the making because of COVID-19 delaying everything, I didn’t get a Grade 11 season,” said Eve, who plans to compete next at Nationals in Calgary in June.

Maxwell competed in and won four matches at the Vancouver event, with a score of 10-0.

“I would have been happy placing anywhere in the top six and getting some sort of medal,” said Eve. “When it was my semi-final match, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, no matter what happens, if I can make it to tomorrow, it’s going to be the best result I’ve had in my life.’ When I actually went into the gold-medal match, it was, ‘You know what, I can do this, I’ve seen this girl’s films from the prior day’… and it happened.”

Eve was not expecting to win Most Outstanding Match or be named Most Outstanding Female Wrestler, despite her fellow Salmon Arm wrestlers at the event, including Andrei Dumitrache, Kale Goodman and Koda Beaton, suggesting that would probably happen.

“I said, ‘No I’m not.’ A minute later… they started announcing the most valuable female wrestler and then as soon as they said from Salmon Arm, I was just in complete and total shock, I didn’t know what to do,” said Eve. “They shoved me out to go running through the middle and get photos with everything. At that point I was definitely crying a little bit. I was just so shocked and overwhelmed I couldn’t believe what was happening.

“We ended up going back to the podium to get some photos with the stuff I just got and while I was on the podium, they called me again for the most outstanding match. Just three surprises back-to-back-to-back it was the best feeling in my entire life.”

Eve’s mother, Kelly Murray, said Eve’s teammates dubbed her “Sir Highness” and made the experience extra special for her by giving her a signed tank top, a balloon scepter, a sash and a confetti shower.

SAS athletics teacher Greg Seed documented the whole journey, said Murray, and was an incredible support to her Eve.

Not present for the event was SAS wrestling instructor Ray Munsie, who has been coaching Eve since Grade 7. Munsie has been fighting cancer and wasn’t able to coach this season.

“She trained so hard and she dominated. I couldn’t be prouder,” Munsie said of Eve in a School District 83 media release.

Eve credited Munsie with instilling in her what he calls an “attack-style mindset,” where you dominate the mat, “making your opponent follow your plan so they don’t even get a chance to carry out what they were originally planning.”

Eve is also grateful to Munsie for helping her believe in herself.

“When I first started competing in Grade 7, I really didn’t do super well,” said Eve. “He was like, ‘Just you wait until next year, some good things are coming your way, keep working hard.’ And then I did that and I ended up getting fourth in my first provincials which is a really big thing to do.”

With Munsie sidelined, Eve said she took on responsibility for coaching the school’s wrestling team. This was in addition to adhering to a strict workout regime, as well as playing high school rugby and football with the SAS varsity team. All the while continuing with her own wrestling training.

“I really loved how competitive it was and I really like that pretty much everything just falls on you,” said Eve, explaining the attraction of wrestling. “You’re in charge of how hard you work and if you’re going to do well or not. Obviously, that isn’t always the best because if you fail, the failure is all on you. But it makes the successes more powerful and meaningful.”

Munsie followed each of Eve’s matches online and spoke with her on the phone after each one. Eve said he is doing really well right now.

Murray considers her daughter an extraordinary human being and the hardest working person she knows.

“As a mother, she has kept me extremely busy, as I haven’t said no to her very many times in all the activities she has wanted to pursue,” said Murray. “It has been nerve-wracking having her partake in contact sports and playing alongside males of all ages, but she holds her own and has truly earned respect amongst them…

“She is an absolute force. Eve is so spectacular to me that I almost feel detached and in disbelief that she is my daughter. Having the honour of being her mother is my dream job!”

Eve has more than one trip to Calgary planned. She also earned a $1,000 scholarship and, in September, will be going to the University of Calgary. There, she’ll continue wrestling with the school’s team, the Calgary Dinos, while working towards a career in environmental law.

“I’ve always had an interest in doing some sort of environmental related field and I think environmental law would probably be the best course of action to make a difference,” said Eve. “Because it’s not very likely that big industries are going to necessarily disappear over time, so I think the best thing is to work with them and help them adapt with better practices.”

Munsie is proud of Eve and admires her commitment and determination. He shared in the school distinct media release a story about Eve’s trip to Provincials when she was in Grade 10. She’d competed and finished fourth despite having a broken bone in her hand.

“She didn’t tell us that her hand was sore because she knew her mother and I wouldn’t let her wrestle,” said Munsie. “But it does show the grit and toughness she has as she made it all the way to fourth with a broken hand and wrestling girls two years older than her.”

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Salmon Arm Secondary Grade 12 student Eve Maxwell captured a gold medal, was named Most Outstanding Match and won the Lyndsay Belisle trophy for Most Outstanding Female Wrestler when she and fellow SAS wrestlers competed in the BC High School Wrestling Champions, Feb. 24-26. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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