Thursday, 09 February 2012 11:50

Swift Current team wrestles with potential greatness

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By Brad Brown — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
When it comes to wrestling, Natasha Cleaveley wants nothing more than to medal at Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association provincials. A close second would be not squaring off with a teammate to get there.

“It’s just awkward because you know what they’re going to do and because you’re being mean to somebody who you’re nice to on a daily basis,” she said.

Cleaveley, in her Grade 12 year at Swift Current Comprehensive High School, knows the feeling well, having squared off with Ardens teammate Erin Hilts a number of times in competition.

Their highest profile match of late came in January at the O’Neill Invitational tournament in Regina, when Cleaveley bested Hilts in the 90-kilogram girls’ elite final.

“It’s definitely more difficult to wrestle somebody I know,” said Hilts, a Grade 11 student and, like Cleaveley, a third-year wrestler. “It’s like you know what they’re going to do because you know what their favourite moves are and what they plan to do in their matches.

“You’re trying to get angry and get the aggression and stuff, and at the same time you’re thinking, ‘This girl’s my friend.’ It’s very hard.”

Aggression is one of the pillars this year’s Colts and Ardens wrestling teams seem to be built on. Hilts added the teams are subscribing to the motto, “conditioning wins matches.”

At practices, the emphasis is unmistakably on technique.

“Both Coach (Dan) Marchand and I feel that technique is where we need to work,” said Allen Blanke, now in his 16th year coaching wrestling at the high school.  We certainly need to keep our conditioning at a high level, but we’re always working on our technique to improve.”

Regionals are scheduled for March 3 while provincials go March 9-10 in Regina.

Despite having a relatively young team on his hands this year, Blanke says it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a provincial medal make its way back to Swift Current.

“We’ll have to have some things go right for us along the way, but we’ve got some kids that should be in the medal round at provincials,” he said.

Results from last weekend’s Western Canada high school tournament in Saskatoon were not available at press time.

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