The Williams Lake Wrestling Club has been getting its boots dirty through a busy two months of grappling, including the crowning of multiple zone champions.
In early January, 13 athletes from the WLWC travelled to the Kelly Road Invitational in Prince George — a high school and elementary tournament, combined.
Next, on Jan. 18, the club was in Kamloops for a Wrestling Fun Day, before two of the team’s senior athletes made the long trek to Port Alberni Feb. 6-8 for the Alberni Valley Invitational.
Most recently the team’s high school wrestlers took part in the Northern B.C. Wrestling Zone Championships — the qualifier for the B.C. High School Provincial Wrestling Championships in Prince George Feb. 27 to March 1 — on Feb. 15-16 in Mackenzie.
“Wrestling is a sport that you get what you give and these athletes really showed their dedication to the sport,” said Sonia Conrod, the WLWC president and head coach. “As much as it’s an individual sport it is also a team sport. I’m very proud of the kids and their representation of the sport, their school and the city of Williams Lake.”
The Wrestling Fun Day, she added, was another excellent opportunity to improve on the mat for six of the club’s grapplers, who joined 70 other wrestlers for the session.
“This is something we’d never been to before,” Sonia said, noting longtime NorKam secondary wrestling coach Brian Dick hosted the clinic. “The kids all benefited from it and had a lot of fun. There were several coaches showing different techniques and the kids had the opportunity to wrestle with other kids from around the province.”
Braden Conrod and Taryn Dick attended the Alberni Valley Wrestling Club Invitational, along with two members of the 100 Mile Wrestling Club — Tiana Dykstra and Kody Kennedy.
“This was a very elite tournament for athletes from around the province,” she said. “It is also a seeding tournament for nationals. If an athlete medals here they are eligible for nationals, being held in Guelph, Ont., in April.”
The three-day event featured a weigh-in Thursday night, wrestling preliminary rounds Friday, then semifinal and final action Saturday.
Dykstra, last year’s 43-kilogram Canadian national runner-up, proved once again her status in the Canadian wrestling world, coming home with a gold medal in the 43-kg cadet girls division.
Braden, meanwhile, picked up a bronze medal in a difficult 60-kg cadet division, while both Dick (51-kg cadet girls) and Kennedy (51-kig cadet boys) battled hard but did not reach the podium.
“The kids all fought hard,” Sonia said. “They did amazing.”
At zones the WLWC once again showed its dominance in the region, bringing home multiple gold medals. The top three finishers at zones advance to provincials.
“It’s very rare for provincials to be held in our own northern zone, so it will be a great opportunity to show the south what the north is all about,” Sonia said.
Danielle Schultz, a Grade 9 standout, beat girls up to Grade 12 in her 54-kg weight class to win the gold medal.
Kaitlin Jantz, also in Grade 9, battled to her first-ever gold medal in the 60-kg division.
On the boys’ side Grade 11 Peter Fayowski claimed himself a gold medal in the 110-kg weight class, while Adam Sutherland, in the 60-kg division, won bronze.
Braden, competing in the same 60-kg division, added another gold medal to his collection.
“All the kids battled hard and they all qualified for provincials at the end of the month,” Sonia said. “Provincials are in Prince George, so we’ll all be there to help make it successful.”