Submitted by Travis Himmelright,
head coach of Nechako Valley Secondary Wrestling
Vanderhoof wrestlers held their own on the national stage this season. The 2015-16 wrestling season was extended this year. At the end of another strong season by the Nechako Valley grapplers, four NVSS wrestlers had qualified for the National Championships which took place last month in Calgary.
After an impressive showing at competitions in Edmonton, Richmond and Abbotsford; Grade 12 Jesse Raymond, grade 10 Eran Bach and grade 9s Addison Miller-Gauthier and Aiden Evenson found they had earned enough points to represent Team BC at the Nation Championships. The four athletes trained hard in preparation for this big event.
Over the 3 day Canadian Championships event the athletes wrestled in 2 different events, representing the 2 Olympic wrestling styles of Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. At the end of the competition Vikes wrestlers returned with six top 6 performances.
Grade 12 and team captain Jesse Raymond competed in a very tough Juvenile (16-18 year) 76 kg division. In his first match he drew Quebec competitor Julien Choquette, last year’s national silver medalist and came up short. Jesse won his next two bouts in convincing fashion but was eventually eliminated from the competition in a very close match to BC Champion Tyler Halverson. Jesse was forced to withdraw due to injury in the Greco Roman style but after going undefeated to that point in the competition Jesse managed well deserved 6th place finish.
Eran Bach wrestling the 69kg division also had a good weekend in Calgary. Although the freestyle competition did not go well for him, going 0-2 on the day Eran bounced back in the Greco Roman style, a style that does not permit leg attacks or leg holds. Eran went 2-2 on the last day of competition and placed 5th in the nation in the Juvenile division.
Grade 9, Addison Miller-Gauthier also demonstrated that you don’t have to be big to be tough. Addison wrestled in the high speed 42kg Cadet division (14-15 year old). He lost to the eventual gold medalist from Ontario in the second round, after receiving a bye in the first. He bounced back to defeat his next opponent before losing his last bout to a tough competitor from PEI. Addison was the top BC placer in his division, placing 6th in freestyle. He continued to battle in the Greco Roman division winning his first bout before losing to the same 2 competitors he faced in Freestyle. Addison finished the day with a very impressive 4th place result.
Zone MVP Aiden Evenson showed that small town wrestlers are tougher than most. Aiden, a grade 9 student at NVSS, wrestled in the 63 kg Cadet division, often considered the toughest at this age group. After winning his first 2 matches Aiden lost to the eventual bronze medalist from Guelph, Ontario. However, Aiden continued to perform well and stacking up the victories; by the end of the freestyle competition Aiden had advanced to the 12th round and had wrestled 9 matches, placing him 6th out of 32 toughest grade 9 and 10 wrestlers in the nation. Aiden wrestled another 6 matches in the Greco division and fell just a few points shy of a bronze medal finishing 4th on the last day of the competition.
These wrestlers and several others from the Nechako Valley Vikes team are back on the mats again after a well-deserved break. They must keep their skills honed as they prepare for the BC Summer Games held in Abbotsford this July.