Ashmeet Panag (top) works on technique with Darian Banman. (Ronan O’Doherty - THE NEWS)

Westview’s women wrestlers win

Maple Ridge high school’s Cadet Girl’s team claims gold in Abbotsford

Quality time on the school’s mats is paying off for Westview Secondary’s young grapplers.

The Maple Ridge high school’s Cadet Girl’s wrestling team had an excellent showing at the Western Canada age class championships in Abbotsford two weeks ago (Jan. 22 to 25). The squad won a gold medal and have gained some confidence for the upcoming zone championships in the process.

Lily Teare-Cunningham, Grade 10, and Zoie Sawada, Grade 9, both won gold medals in their respective brackets, while Ashmeet Panag, Grade 10, earned a silver. Kayana Irani, Grade 9, did not place, but her coach, Kaitlyn Poirier, said she performed well and contributed to the team’s overall results.

READ MORE: Wildcat has a leg up on the competition

The young athletes are fairly new to the sport but have taken to it with vim.

“I think what’s so impressive is they’re really committed to developing their technique and learning from their mistakes,” said Poirier.

“Even in high-stress competition situations they do really well to come back to their corner and listen to their coaches and really take that knowledge forward.”

With a base like that, the coach has high hopes for the team.

“It bodes really well for the future considering that the Cadet Girls are only Grade 9 and 10, so that gives us a couple more years to build on this already great foundation.”

She adds the girls have a couple of the key characteristics any wrestling coach looks for in potential winners.

“The main thing that you can’t teach in wrestlers is determination and a bit of grit,” Poirier said. “Even when [these girls] have lost, they keep fighting and they learn from their mistakes and get right back in the ring the next match.”

READ MORE: Wrestlers medal at zone championships

The tournament in Abbotsford was of great importance to the team. Poirier said the wrestlers were competing against some of the best schools in the province and some top grapplers from Alberta made the trip too.

While Cadet Girls has not always been a large class, it has certainly grown in recent years.

“It’s getting bigger,” Poirier said. “Ten years ago, it would have been tiny but nowadays it’s a big deal because there’s a real field of competition out there.

“Most of these girls are fighting in brackets with a minimum of eight other girls and for some of them it’s as many as 12.”

More stiff competition is on its way.

The squad will take their skills to the zone championships, which will be held at Maple Ridge Secondary School’s gym on Friday (Feb 7) and – if they qualify – the provincials will be two weekends after that.

“They’re on a roll of tournaments,”Poirier said. “They’re all high stakes with the regionals and provincials being the big ones for the year.”

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Vienna Zivin (top) lands a takedown on Ashmeet Panag. {Ronan O’Doherty - THE NEWS)

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