Banner up! The icy and foggy roads to Medicine Hat couldn’t keep the WCHS Sabers wrestlers from bringing home the ASAA Provincial Championship banner for 3A schools in Alberta.
After winning the Rural Provincial banner in Sexsmith two weeks ago, the team almost surprised themselves by winning this one, surpassing all 3A schools throughout Alberta.
Jakob Dormaar came home with a silver after his match with Calgary’s juvenile national medallist, Adam Thomson.
Right off the whistle the action started with each wrestler determined to win, at one point taking a confusing tumble that caused a nosebleed as each scrambled for superiority.
Kjel Gusdal won the bronze medal handily after being defeated by Cochrane’s Elijah Springer in the previous round, a match he had intended to win and move on to the gold medal final. Gusdal is known to be fast and calculated with his technique, but a small error meant disappointment for the Wetaskiwin wrestler.
Allen Paquette had his team on their feet cheering him to a win, but his opponents denied him advancing to the crossovers. Paquette’s explosive style left him a little too open for take downs and turnovers, resulting in disappointment for the 65 kg wrestler.
While each wrestler had their own challenges, coaches Shane Rybak and Shamus McDonnell can see how far their training has brought them. “While this may be an individual sport when on the mat, it’s the team that helps you train and get you there,” says Rybak.
“These young men deserve the banner, and you won’t find more humble, polite and hard-working athletes out there.”
In 2017, this same team of Dormaar, Gusdal and Paquette tied for first place and the banner. All three are in their Grade 12 year, and the coaches are hopeful for some new high school recruits next season.
“The junior high and elementary teams are doing well, but only one athlete will be moving into grade 10 next year,” says McDonnell. “We’d love the opportunity to train new wrestlers to be high school provincial medallists…the sport of wrestling offers so much in the way of physical and mental development for students over the course of their school years.”
Dormaar and Gusdal will continue to train for the Canadian Cadet/Juvenile Wrestling Championships that will be held in Edmonton, April 13 to 15th.