Throw down

Hayden Giesbrecht of the Swift Current Titans throws Coady Gamble of the Duck Lake Wrestling Club to the ground.

The Swift Current Titans Wrestling Club's annual tournament continues to grow and this year's event was the largest ever.

The 21st annual Titans wrestling tournament took place in a packed gymnasium at Swift Current Comprehensive High School (SCCHS), Jan. 25.

“We were really happy with how the day went,” Titans Head Coach Curtis Biem said. “We were bigger than we were ever before. We had 370 or so kids here at the tournament today. We had average probably about 130 matches per mat on six mats. So that’s a lot of kids, that’s a lot of matches.”

They used six mats for the first time this year at the tournament to ensure matches can take place at a steady pace during the day.

“We had been growing every year a little bit and a little bit, and last year it was tight getting it done in a reasonable amount of time with just five mats,” he said. “So we added another mat this year and I’m glad we did, because we’d still be wrestling right now. … It made the tournament go smoothly. Everything went great.”

He acknowledged the great effort from the group of around 40 volunteers who made it possible to host such a large tournament with success.

“Our volunteers were just phenomenal,” he said. “They’re all just family and friends of the club and without them obviously we wouldn’t be able to do this, and we sure do appreciate the work they did.”

He felt there are several reasons for the ongoing growth of the tournament. The volunteer group ensures that the tournament runs smoothly and the SCCHS gymnasium provides a great venue to host a wrestling tournament. The event also accommodates wrestlers across a wide age range.

“We open it up right from the youngest kids who are Grade 1 or kindergarten, some of them, right up to the Grade 12s,” he said. “So we have that whole range of athletes who are able to come, and when the coaches and teams know that things are going to go well, then they are willing to come here and make that extra trip. We had a couple of teams from Alberta and we had one from Manitoba this year.”

A total of 38 wrestlers from the Swift Current Titans Wrestling Club competed at the tournament. Biem did not have time during the day to follow all the club results, but he felt the team was doing well.

“There were so many kids here and we had lots of coaches and so many mats,” he said. “I only saw a fraction of the matches. The ones I saw looked like we were really wrestling well and I saw lots of hands going up, lots of smiling faces. So, I know that we wrestled well.”

Wrestlers want to compete and win their matches, but the results are not always the most important outcome that Biem will look at.

“What we want to do is to be a place where kids can come and challenge themselves, learn some lessons about how to work hard and gain some skills in athletics, but most of all we want them to have fun and be good people,” he said.

He credits the members of his coaching staff for their effort in supporting him with the coaching of the wrestlers at the club.

“Todd Tumback, Isaac Hintze and Kevin Folk help with the coaching and I sure do appreciate them, because that’s another big reason that our level is where it is,” Biem said. “We have lots of people who are able to do that, and we have high school kids that come out and help with some of the coaching of the younger kids too. So that’s part of the culture we try to build, where you’ve been part of this and you benefitted from other people and now we want those kids to realize how much value they have in being able to pass that along to the younger kids as well.”

The club continues to produce top-level wrestlers that are doing well provincially and nationally. This year their top wrestler is Grade 11 student Luke Nelson, who also wrestles for the SCCHS wrestling team.

“Luke has been wrestling with me since he was in elementary school,” Biem said. “He placed fourth in nationals last year and he is pushing himself and working incredibly hard, doing all of those things that you want from any kind of elite athlete. Regardless of what his results are at the end of the year, he can rest assured that he did everything he could to maximize his potential.”

The club is a good feeder program for the SCCHS wrestling team, and many young wrestlers will end up competing for the high school.

“It’s really rewarding to see the kids that go from our club up into high school and see that their results are holding their own,” he said. “We hear about them being leaders on the team and working hard. We hear about them having a lot of fun and being coachable. So that makes me really proud.”

The Titans home tournament was their third competition of the season, and there will be four more tournaments before provincials. The club will also take a handful of wrestlers to nationals, which will take place in Edmonton in April.

Below are the results for the Swift Current Titans Wrestling Club at their Jan. 25 home tournament.

First place: Alex Hyde (Peewee Male - 42-44), Jackson Gording-Dovell (Peewee Male - 54-55), Luke Nelson (Cadet/Juvenile Male - 77-81).

Second place: Meryk Gording-Dovell (Peewee Male - 36-39), Ethan Peters (Peewee Male - 56-62), Maddex Barber (Bantam Male - 48-52), Hayden Giesbrecht (Bantam Male - 75-80), Grace Giesbrecht (Cadet/Juvenile Female - 55-60).

Third place: Levynn Toney (Peewee Female - 48-51), Reese Allin (Peewee Female - 50-52), Carter Stad (Peewee Male - 26-28), Tate Switzer (Peewee Male - 35-37), Chase Auseth (Peewee Male - 65-66), Dakota Hurl (Bantam Female - 35-38), Lake Tardif (Bantam Male - 47-50), Maddexx Gording-Dovell (Bantam Male - 61-67).

Fourth place: Austin Sewell (Peewee Male - 31-34), Talon Tumback (Bantam Male - 52-58).

Fifth place: Colter Folk (Peewee Male - 33-35), Grady Sloan (Bantam Male - 33-36), Brooklynn Becker (Cadet/Juvenile Female - 49-52), Amery Giesbrecht (Cadet/Juvenile Male - 51-56).

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