The Salmon Arm Secondary wrestling team’s season-opening tournament in Kamloops on Saturday, Dec. 1 was outstanding.
The local squad took 21 wrestlers, 17 of whom medalled. The team, in its third year of existence, is the defending zone champion for both the boys’ and girls’ divisions, so the results show their success could easily be repeated. However, notes Coach Ray Munsie, if the team is going to repeat as champions in the girls’ division, it will need more girls to join. Just three girls went to Kamloops and they came away with second overall in the team standings. For the boys, the team has numbers and the quality is improving with five wrestlers returning.
Munsie says winning the zones last year in only the second season was a bit of a surprise, “but we’ll take it. I attribute this to the quality of the athletes that are turning out for us, their tremendously supportive parents, and their insatiable work ethic. We push them hard and they just lap it up. This is truly the stuff that champions are made of.”
Munsie said he was proud of every wrestler, but there are three new wrestlers and one veteran that can be singled out.
Of the rookies, Munsie mentioned Jenna Cote, Grade 9, who has been wrestling for four weeks. The first match of her career was against a Grade 11 girl who has been wrestling for three years. Cote kept it basic and came away with the win.
Arya Javdani was told when he was recruited that having Iranian blood in his veins meant that wrestling is in his DNA. Wrestling is to Iran what hockey, basketball and football combined are to Canadians, said Munsie.
“Although he didn’t win his weight class, Arya showed that he’s willing to compete with anyone. We can teach the rest.”
Colin Robertson, has a little added incentive, say Munsie, as his mom’s nephew, Matt Gentry, wrestled for Canada at the recent Olympics in London.
“Colin is loving his new sport and is wrestling like a future champion.”
The veteran, Shay-lynn Steiger, placed second overall in her weight class – Munsie had moved her up a weight class to give her tougher competition.
She was the B.C. high school champion two years ago and the B.C. silver medallist last year. In the spring, she attended the cadet national championships in Fredricton, N.B. where she placed fifth.
The placers in the tournament were:
• Bronze medallists – Tyrel Foard, Arya Javdani, Anthony Geier, Micah Gunn, Cody Gulka, and Andrew Loza.
Silver medallists –Shay-lynn Steiger, Jenna Cote, Eleena Sweet, Colin Robertson, Cole Swetlikoe, Adam Fiebelkorn and Nick Ough.
Gold medallists –Tristan Connor, Wilson Hlina, Gavin Petznick and Jacob Ashton.