Ryan Hicks is a national wrestling champion.
The Maple Ridge Ramblers sent four high school wrestlers to the Canadian cadet and juvenile wrestling championships in Edmonton, and Hicks, in Grade 10, took gold in Greco style and silver in freestyle in the 55-kilogram class.
The Greco final is one he will always remember, a dramatic, come-from-behind win.
“It was a really close, very intense final,” Hicks said.
He was down by four points, and with just five seconds left on the clock got a huge, four-point throw. The match finished tied, but Hicks won by virtue of having the highest point-scoring move.
He lost to a hometown wrestler in the freestyle final, and admitted: “I didn’t really wrestle my best. It still haunts me.”
Hicks is off to a great start in his wrestling career, having finished third at provincials this season and second last year. He now adds a national championship.
It was the first time at nationals for Hicks, and he said the competition it was a great experience.
Adrian Truong, in Grade 9 and his first full season of wrestling, won bronze in Greco style in the 60 kg class. He also placed seventh in freestyle.
Truong wants to dedicate himself to the sport and his goal is to take gold in both styles.
“I love it, and I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “It’s all you on the mat … it depends on only you.”
Ivy Threatful, In Grade 9, took fourth in freestyle at nationals. She had a tough semi-final, and lost to an Alberta wrestler she had fought and beaten before.
That put her in the bronze-medal match, which was tightly contested.
“It was pretty even, but at the last second she scored points,” said Threatful. “Next year, I’ll get her.”
Lukas Kolobara, the Ramblers’ graduating team captain and a silver medallist at the provincials this year, finished fifth in freetstyle at nationals. He won four of his six matches.
Now Kolobara moves on to the University of Regina, where he will study business and wrestle for the Cougars in Canada West.
MRSS coach Bill McCrae said Kolobara has been a great captain of the wrestling team for the past two seasons, for “his work ethic, motivation of other athletes and his achievements.”
McCrae said Hicks will be the team captain next season.
The coach is looking forward to Threatful and Truong returning to nationals next year.
“They go back one year older and one year stronger… they should walk through it.”
He said it was disappointing that Rambler and B.C. champ Marquesis Haintz was injured and unable to compete at nationals, because she would have been a medal favourite.