By Ron Giofu
It was a smaller than usual wrestling team at General Amherst High School but the team did boast some success in the 2016-17 school year.
The team recently completed its year and had three medalists at WECSSAA, one medalist at SWOSSAA with that SWOSSAA medalist also representing the school at OFSAA in early March.
Coach Rodney Levesque praised the work of the team and noted they had fewer members this year than they have had in previous years.
“We had a small team,” said Levesque.
Levesque said they had “eight dedicated kids” this year, down from the 10-15 the team usually has. There were six boys and two girls on this year’s team and, by comparison, Tecumseh Vista Academy had 40 girls on their team.
“The hardest thing about the team is getting people to come out for it,” said Levesque.
With the boom over the last decade of mixed martial arts (MMA), Levesque hoped it would have translated into increased numbers for the General Amherst wrestling team. That said, the athletes who do come out for it are dedicated to the sport.
“It’s a long season,” he said, pointing out it lasts from early November to March.
Practices were four to five times per week, with tournaments on weekends.
“It keeps them in very good shape,” said Levesque. “It’s a very intense sport.”
Katie McEvoy, a Grade 10 student, completed her second year in wrestling and brought home a silver medal from SWOSSAA and was the school’s lone representative at OFSAA.
McEvoy made OFSAA a goal at the beginning of the year and said she was happy to have achieved it.
“It was pretty exciting,” she said, of the trip to the provincial tournament in Brampton.
McEvoy won two matches and lost two matches and was her school’s lone representative at the tournament. She added she got into wrestling because she likes the contact and the discipline the sport offers.
Jacob Stanek was one of the school’s other medalists at WECSSAA, as he won a bronze medal.
“I felt I improved from last year,” said Stanek.
Stanek said he felt stronger and more skilled this year.
“I felt pretty confident going into SWOSSAA,” said Stanek, adding his goal for next year is a gold medal at WECSSAA.
Nathan Charron said he put what he learned in all four years of high school wrestling together this year and that resulted in a third place finish at WECSSAA and fourth at SWOSSAA. It was the first year he won a medal, with Charron adding he wanted to win a medal at WECSSAA in his final year in high school.
Other members of the team include Tate Levesque, Devin Duhart, Myah Trymbulak, Bobby Bridgens and Matt Belanger.