Wetaskiwin has always had a strong – even if small – high school wrestling team, but having all first-year wrestlers at this level is a rarity.
Three Westaskiwin Composite High School students began the season with unknown potential to coaches Shane Rybak and Shamus McDonnell, but the three Sabres wrestlers showed they were here to compete, with Riley Dixon and Natalis Manns placing at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA) provincial Championships on March 8 to 9, in Stony Plain, Alberta.
The ASAA provincials is only open to students registered in an Alberta high school and who placed top five in each weight class at the the three provincial zone tournaments: Edmonton, Calgary, and the rural schools (rest of Alberta).
At the 120Kg male category, Riley Dixon placed first at Rurals, and earned a hard-won bronze medal at the ASAA provincial championships. Being a Grade 10 student, wrestling for his first year and against older and more experienced wrestlers, this represents a tremendous accomplishment for Dixon. In the semifinal, Riley was winning six points to zero against the wrestler who eventually won silver. His opponent was looking for a shoulder throw, and a simple drop in his guard was the fatal flaw that saw Riley thrown to his back and pinned. This was a great learning experience, and both coaches look forward to seeing Dixon compete for a spot on Team Alberta for the Western Canada Games later this summer.
Grade 12 student, Natalie Manns placed sixth in her 75Kg weight class, having lost two close matches, and narrowly missing a top four finish. This was a great finish for Manns, as beginning this sport in her final year exposed her to some tough competitors. Emily Wolff unfortunately lost her first two matches on day one and was eliminated via the double knockout rule in the 65 kg class.
The team was also proud of Bronwyn Dormaar, now attending Grade 10 at Vimy Ridge Academy in Edmonton, but lives near Millet. Dormaar has wrestled with the Wetaskiwin team for three years now. She has rocked the 61kg weight class by winning gold in both the qualifying Edmonton City Trials and then again in the ASAA Championships. Dormaar did not have a single point scored on her in Provincials as she dominated her competition, pinning all her opponents in the first round.
As provincial gold medalist, Bronwyn was part of a celebrational group of 12 female gold medalists who posed for a photo to commemorate the 25th year of women competing in the ASAA wrestling championships.
Coaches Rybak and McDonnell would also like to thank all the returning Alumni that have helped prepare the team for competition, including the dedication of Calvin Osland and Melissa Williams.
-Submitted by Cari McDonnell, Wetaskiwin Wrestling