It took a lot of hard work to get there, but 11 Meadow Lake wrestlers are now back from competing provincially.
The local athletes participated in the Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association (SHSAA) provincial wrestling final at Mount Royal Collegiate in Saskatoon on March 9 and 10.
The boys team captured the 3A provincial title, which is a first for Carpenter High School. Jacob Ambroziak took gold in the male 130 kilogram class, and Tavin Bear captured bronze in the 100 kg. Parker Vandale-Niccolls and Cody Barden both qualified for bronze medal matches in their classes (62 kg and 65 kg) and fell short, however their points helped with the boys provincial win. Twins Savanna and Skyla Russell each took bronze in the 64 kg and 60 kg female classes respectively.
Ambroziak, a Grade 11 student, said it was a positive weekend. This is his second gold medal in a row. He said as an individual athlete, he worked hard and feels accomplished.
“Last year at provincials I was good, but this year, I feel like I’m better,” he said. “Overall for the team, we came so far from last year. The boys won regionals last year and both regionals and provincials this year, which is a big milestone for our team. Wrestling is getting recognized around the school and area.”
Savanna Russell, who is in Grade 12, said she was thankful for the experience and proud of all her teammates and her sister Skyla for doing well.
“It was really cool to have four people out of 11 of us medal,” she said. “Especially since we’re not very big compared to the other schools, so leaving with four medals helps us get on the map a little bit. People realize now that Meadow Lake wrestlers are pretty good.”
Both Russell and Ambroziak said they appreciated the support and hard work of their coaches, Jason Guenther and Chris Brownrigg. During provincial matches, each wrestler is required to have a coach on the sidelines, which meant a lot of running around for both men.
“I know it was tough for them,” said Russell. “Our coaches were running all over the gym, they don’t even get a break, match after match. They were really busy with the amount of wrestlers we have.”
Coach Guenther said he is impressed with entire team’s performance this year.
“They were a great bunch of kids on the team this year, with good attitudes, and a desire to compete at a high level,” he said. “Last year was our first individual gold medal, and this year is our first team championship. Now we will get two more banners in the gym.”
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