The sweet smell of victory filled Nechako Valley Secondary as Vanderhoof elementary and high school teams were made wrestling champions.
The Dec. 13 tournament saw 180 matches between 123 competitors wrestle it out in the NVSS gym. Grades 2-12 competed in 27 divisions, 20 of which won by Vikes athletes.
Kyler Freitas, Gr 8 student, is an NVSS up-and-comer. In a battle back and forth, his first match was close but ultimately came out on top. He won by four points with a slamming take down.
“He’s got a real body awareness and knows when to be aggressive and when not to be,” Travis Himmilright said, wrestling coach at NVSS.
Kyler won his second match with the duck under, his favourite hold.
“It’s when you duck under the person’s arm pit and grab their legs for a take down, Kyler said. Having to sometimes go up against older kids, Kyler says he’s not easily intimidated.
“Knowing you can’t back down once it starts is how I get over it,” he said.
During the PG tournament two weeks ago, Kyler won three of four matches. His third match at NVSS was against the same boy who beat him in PG. Only this time, his perseverance paid off, winning 12-9.
“It feels good,” Kyler said, with a humbling smile.
“I like that hes a little guy and represents wrestling is for anyone,” Mr. Himmilright said about Kyler. “[Wrestling] is a unique sport in that way, there’s a spot for anyone on the team.”
As the smallest NVSS girl, Lynnaea Harasti Gr 7, weighing in at 73 pounds, is used to going up against opponents older than her. “I joined because I like being able to be rough, it’s fun,” she said.
She won her first match with an overwhelming takedown, a ten point superiority. In her second match she gave it her all but lost putting up a good fight, 14-4.
Jerica Young-Greene, NVSS Gr 7, picked up her first win of the season. Her opponent, visibly taller, turned out much less skilled.
“It was scary because she was way taller than me, but I noticed she kept grabbing my legs so I pulled my legs away and got on top of her,” Jerica said. With higher agility, Jerica pulled a half nelson and pinned the girl’s shoulders coming away with a win.
Eran Bach, NVSS Gr 9 won his first match against Westside. The score was 4-4 but he won with a strong, pure pin. Once he got his opponent’s shoulders in it was over.
An intense NVSS inter-team battle against Charles Xue and Jonna Mosher had the two teammates put on a good show. The two were so close, the buzzer rang and the score read 16-16 but, in the end, Charles had more four point moves. He also scored the last point which was the deciding factor of his victory.
Dawson Dyck, NVSS Gr 11 won his first match against Westside with a notable spiralling move and half nelson hold. “I like the moves you get to learn, it’s fun,” he said.
Showing a point domination in his second match, he won 12-2 against PGSS in the first round, a near clear sweep. Although it is his first year in wrestling he shows great promise.
One of the day’s show stoppers was Gr 12 NVSS student Jason Yee’s first match. Although he is on his fourth year of wrestling, right away his opponent over powered him. He was seemingly no match for his opponents heightened strength and agility. The two quarrelled intensely but Jason didn’t give up.
“He grabbed my leg and I did a defence called the wizzer, and used his speed to flip him over using my leg as a leverage point. I got two points ahead and he stayed there,” said Jason.
Using his opponents speed and momentum against him, the score read 12-10 when the buzzer ran. Jason won the match and the crowd cheered. No one saw it coming, not even Jason.
“I barely won, I beat him by two and he was ahead the whole time,” Jason said.
Jennor Nohr, NVSS Gr 12, was MVP of the Dec. 6 Prince George tournament and proved his ability once again at NVSS.
“I like that you don’t have to rely on your team. It’s something you can always improve on for yourself but you do have a team to back you up so in the end you get best of both worlds.”
His first match was a clean sweep. Using a high-end spin move he got 10 point superiority.
Although he rarely takes a loss, he says he worked hard to get to where he is, a place anyone could be.
“Finding the willingness to come up from getting beat up is hard, but you find that power in the sport,” he said.
Overall the tournament saw a large turnout. Next up for the Vikes is Kelly Road and Grand Prairie in the new year.