Left, Salmon Arm Secondary (SAS) student Eve Maxwell wears the gold medal she earned in the Greco-Roman event in the Wrestling Canada Championships held in Calgary June 10-12. Right, Eve poses for a photo with her SAS coach and mentor Ray Munsie, who was at the championship event to cheer her on. (Contributed)

Left, Salmon Arm Secondary (SAS) student Eve Maxwell wears the gold medal she earned in the Greco-Roman event in the Wrestling Canada Championships held in Calgary June 10-12. Right, Eve poses for a photo with her SAS coach and mentor Ray Munsie, who was at the championship event to cheer her on. (Contributed)

Salmon Arm Secondary wrestler adjusting to being called a ‘national champion’

Eve Maxwell captured gold and silver medals at Wrestling Canada Championships

Eve Maxwell is still coming to grips with being Canadian wrestling champion.

The graduating Salmon Arm Secondary (SAS) student was in Calgary June 10-12 to take part in the Wrestling Canada Championships. Competing in the U19 Women category (61g), Eve won a silver medal in freestyle and a gold in Greco-Roman.

“I was in complete and total disbelief,” said Eve of the gold medal win in the Greco-Roman event, a form of wrestling she hadn’t practised. “I still can’t properly process the fact that was the nationals, all of Canada, the scale of everything is still sinking in.”

The nationals wins followed numerous successes Eve experienced this wrestling season, including first place in zones, second in northwest regionals and a very memorable BC High School Wrestling Championship, Feb. 24-26, in which she not only won a gold medal, but was recognized for Most Outstanding Match, and was given the Lyndsay Belisle trophy for Most Outstanding Female Wrestler.

Also a rugby player, Eve helped the SAS girls sevens team win the West Zone Championship on May 25. Eve played with a hand fracture that occurred in a prior wrestling match. Though it has yet to heal, Eve wasn’t letting that keep her from nationals.

“I had my heart set on going to nationals for about three years now,” said Eve. “I was going to go in Grade 10 but then the pandemic happened.”

Eve had three matches during Saturday’s freestyle event. She said the first was against the person she was wrestling when she fractured her hand. She won that match and the one after it. The last one, versus Marley Jackson, she narrowly lost 8-6.

“I was up 5-and-0 and she ended up doing something that worked and it got in my head a little bit and she ended up winning 8-6 so it was a very close match,” said Eve.

The following day, Eve competed in the Greco-Roman event – something she had no prior experience in. Thankfully, seated in the audience with her family was her former SAS wrestling coach and mentor Ray Munsie.

“They gathered all the wrestlers around to go through all the technicalities and the rules of it and it was so confusing,” said Eve. “As soon as I went to Mr. Munsie, I said, ‘That is a lot of rules!’ He said pretty much just don’t use your legs on offence and don’t touch their legs and you’ll do just fine. That was the only thing I tried to focus on and I was just hoping to be able to rely on my upper body strength because that’s a bigger asset I have compared to other girls… I said, ‘You know, I’m just going to try to be strong and be smart and see what I can do.’”

Eve had two matches in Greco-Roman and won them both. Afterwards, she told Munsie, “I like Greco-Roman!”

Eve said she was feeling a bit of pressure having Munsie at the event. He’s been dealing with health issues and wasn’t able to coach her this school year, or attend the B.C. Wrestling Championships. However, Eve said having him in the crowd also motivated her to succeed.

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

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“I’m kind of like the last wrestler that he’s officially kind of sending off and helping them take their wrestling to the next level…” said Eve. “I really wanted to make sure I could make him proud.”

Watching Eve win at nationals, Munsie was proud to the point of tears. And while she may still be getting comfortable with it, Munsie is all too happy to call Eve a national champion.

“She has essentially competed through the whole year without a coach, and then won the B.C. Championship, won outstanding female wrestler… and now has just won the national championship. So she is quite an amazing young lady,” said Munsie. “As I said to her, we’re now closing the book on this chapter of your life. And I said you are well prepared and ready to start the next chapter with a bang.”

Coaching Eve during her matches at nationals was Mitch Ostberg, who will be Eve’s wrestling coach when she attends the University of Calgary in September. Eve is pursuing a degree in environmental law.

Through her post-secondary pursuits, Eve will have another goal in mind: wrestling in the Olympics.

“It’s definitely a goal…,” said Eve. “Granted, it wouldn’t be for quite a while because wrestlers don’t hit their peak until their late 20s, early 30s. That is a goal I’m willing to work on for the next 10 to 15 years of my life.”


lachlan@saobserver.net
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