2007 Canadian National Juvenile Championship

May 7, 2007 at 2:05 pm 1 comment

dscf0363.jpg dscf0360.jpg victoria-nationals-podium.jpg(click to enlarge)

(Story by Lillian Simmons of the Compass)

Three wrestlers from Carbonear Collegiate and one from Holy Trinity High School in Torbay have brought home medals from what their coach says is the “toughest tournament in the nation.” The four spent an exciting Easter vacation in Whitby, Ontario attending the 2007 Canadian National Juvenile Wrestling Championships. A total of 850 grapplers from all over the country participated in the tournament vying for the title of National Champion. Victoria Ralph, Kelsey Reichel, David Peach, from Carbonear, are long time members of the Carbonear Collegiate Sentinels Wrestling Team and they have a decorated history in the sport. Coach Randy Ralph says, “All three were instrumental in maintaining a wrestling dynasty this year at Carbonear Collegiate” where the “walls of the gymnasium boast seven of a possible eight SSNL high school banners won during the past four years.” Marcus Hatcher is a second year wrestler from Torbay who lead his team to a silver medal finish at this years SSNL High School Provincial Tournament
and a bronze medal at last years Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games.

The weigh-in for the tournament took place on Thursday evening April 12. “It is a highly anticipated moment for wrestlers trying to make a weight class after months of intensive exercise and dieting culminates on a set of scales in front of officials who decide whether or not a wrestler can compete the next day.” Fortunately Ralph, Reichel, Peach, and Hatcher all made weight and their names were added to the draw sheet which determined who they would wrestle in the coming days.

Competition in the juvenile 56 kg female freestyle category began on Friday, April 13 with Victoria Ralph slated to wrestle Ontario’s Victoria Martindale. Ralph pinned Martindale in the first round and then faced Amy Watson of Alberta. Unfortunately Ralph lost her match against Watson, which eliminated her from any chance of winning the gold or silver medal. She had to defeat five wrestlers in a row in order to have a shot at a bronze medal and she did just that. Jessica Smith (Ontario), Ella Webalski (BC), Laura Gordon (Alberta), Marielle Terhart (Alberta), and Heather Wray (Ontario) were all victims of Ralph’s intense head control and specialty
move; the quarter-Russian. The bronze medal was in her grasp, but she had to go through Andrea Garnier of the Windsor Wrestling Club in Ontario first. The match was tough and went the full distance. Fortunately Ralph won two of the three rounds in the match and secured the bronze medal.

David Peach competed in the juvenile 76 kg male freestyle category on day one and lost his first match to Nadar Salame of Ontario. Peach rebounded from the loss with a victory over Alberta’s Samson Emmanuel. The Carbonear Collegiate student then faced Ralph Bayers of Nova Scotia and lost his second match of the day The two losses resulted in elimination and he was
finished in the freestyle category. He would have better luck the next day in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Marcus Hatcher and Kelsey Reichel both represented the province in the 100 kg male freestyle category and like Peach, ran into some stiff competition on day one. Reichel started off the tournament positively by pinning Ontario’s Travis Rehula of the Junior Thunderwolves in Ontario. His next match placed him against national champion Mike Murray who he lost to on points. Reichel bounced back from the loss and defeated New Brunswick’s Chris Cassie in a thrilling come-from-behind victory with a last second pin. Reichel then went on to face BC’s Gurpreet Gill and lost his second match on points to the eventual bronze medalist. This eliminated him from freestyle competition.

Hatcher started off his draw with two wins over Nova Scotia’s Geoff Barron, and Ontario’s Kevin Mills. He then had to face the eventual silver medalist, Gurjot Kooner and was ahead on points in the first round. At one point in the match, Hatcher had Kooner high in the air and let the
BC wrestler down easy. Kooner immediately came back and double legged Hatcher onto the cement floor wrenching the Torbay native’s shoulder. Hatcher eventually lost the match, but felt he could have beaten Kooner with a more aggressive attitude. Hatcher narrowly lost his second match of the day to Curtis Strohan of Saskatchewan in a close match went lasted
three rounds. Hatcher was finished in freestyle.

Like David Peach, both Kelsey Reichel and Marcus Hatcher would fare better in the Greco-Roman portion of the tournament. Slim Hopes Victoria Ralph’s expectations on making the Canadian National FILA Team were slim the following day as 19 wrestlers pummelled each other for a
spot on the team and a chance to travel to the world championships. A loss automatically eliminated a wrestler from competition, which left no room for error or costly mistakes. The national champion, Kathleen Kent, of Saskatchewan learned that the hard way. Kent, who won gold in the 56 kg class the day before, was eliminated by a wrestler who did not even finish
in the top six.

Ralph began the day by defeating Ontario’s Larissa D’Alleva and Alberta’s Celeste Nakai. The two wins put her in the semi-final against BC’s Karen Pitkethly. Pitkethly is an awesome leg shooter and Ralph had to be sharp to defeat her. Down on points in the second round, Ralph needed a pin to win the match and she managed to flatten the BC wrestler on her back for the victory. Ralph advanced to the final against Aislynn Torfason of the Black Bears Wrestling Club in New Brunswick. Coach Ralph says the final match for the 56 kg position on the national team “was thrilling to say the least. “Both Ralph and Torfason tore each other apart in an effort to earn the right to represent Canada at the World Championships in Panama,” he said. Torfason won the first round, while Ralph won the second. The third and final round was close. Torfason went ahead 3 – 1 on a leg attack with about 30 seconds left in the match. Ralph scored another point making it 3 – 2 with two seconds remaining. “Ralph went hard to attempt a throw for two points but missed and lost the match along with a dream trip to Panama City,” the coach said. Ralph is now an alternate in the 56 kg class and if Torfason gets injured, she will take her place.

The last day of competition showcased the men in Greco-Roman competition. “The difference between freestyle and Greco-Roman is that in the latter you are not permitted to touch the legs of your opponent, whereas in freestyle any part of the body can be utilized,” Coach Ralph explained. “Therefore Greco-Roman wrestlers are usually better at throwing their opponent than attacking the legs.”

David Peach was a long shot at placing in the top six of the category. However Peach, who, according to the coach, is “an extremely talented and hard worker” felt he had a chance. Peach defeated Alex Siplyarsky of Ontario in his first match of the day and needed another victory to place him in the gold medal match. He had to overcome Pat Manson of Alberta in
order to get there. “I think Manson underestimated Peach,” said Ralph, adding the muscular Newfoundlander came out on fire and gave the Calgary native a five point hip toss slamming him to the mat. The throw severely injured Mason’s shoulder and he submitted to a pin. The win placed Peach in the gold medal match against Paul Robjohn of Ontario.

“Dave Peach was determined to win Newfoundland and Labrador’s first national Greco-Roman gold medal,” said his coach, “but unfortunately he came up short and lost in two rounds to Robjohn who is a very experienced Greco-Roman wrestler. “He fought hard against Robjohn but he was thrown twice for five points which automatically ends the match. He had to settle
with the silver medal – but he was very pleased with his overall performance.”

Facing the number one ranked wrestler in Greco-Roman competition is not what a wrestler wants in his first match of the day, but Marcus Hatcher had no choice. He drew Durpreet Gill in the 100 kg division and had to wrestle the BC native in the morning. To everyones surprise Hatcher took it to Gill, locked up with a double underhook and side suplayed Gill hard into the mat pinning him to his back. Gill lost the match and could not finish the competition due to a rib injury. Hatcher went on to defeat Billy Kerr of Ontario in the semi-final, which put him into the gold medal match against BC’s James Ford. In the final Hatcher struggled with a shoulder injury from a previous match, and although he wrestled well, could not defeat Ford. Hatcher settled for silver.

Kelsey Reichel was the second representative for Newfoundland and Labrador in the 100 kg Greco-Roman class, and like Hatcher, Peach, and Ralph, was an underdog in the competition. “Facing wrestlers from Ontario, BC, Saskatchewan, and Alberta is very intimidating for wrestlers in the smaller Canadian provinces,” the coach pointed out, “which meant Reichel had to stay focused throughout competition. Unfortunately he faced the eventual gold medallist in the first round of competition.” James Ford of the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club in British Columbia defeated Reichel on points. Reichel had no chance of winning gold or silver after the loss and with his back against the wall, had a chance to compete for a bronze medal if he won his next match, but would be eliminated if he lost. Reichel encountered Ontario’s Billy Kerr and knocked him out of competition with some beautiful hip throws and a pin in the second round. This vaulted Reichel into the bronze medal final against Chris Cassie of New Brunswick. Reichel faced Cassie previously in the freestyle category and narrowly won with a last minute pin. This time however there was no doubt as to who was the superior wrestler as Reichel threw Cassie around the mat. Reichel finished off Cassie with a second round pin and secured Carbonear
Collegiate’s third medal of the tournament.

Newfoundland and Labrador sent four wrestlers to the nationals and all four came home with medals. Carbonear Collegiate placed sixth overall in the country in greco-roman action and the province placed sixth as well. The results are a testament to the dedication of athletes and coaches, and great community support for the sport in the area.


Entry filed under: National.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Kelsey Reichel  |  May 17, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    I did not throw chris cassie around the mat hahaha..he is a very good wrestler who i respect a lot.


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