Record eight Hawks wrestlers go to OFSAA
The Red Hawks coaching staff of Dan Fockler and Paul Klose are ecstatic for their wrestlers earning their first berths to the all-provincials.
Never before in the program’s history have they sent eight representatives to OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletics Association).
Second year wrestler Chloe Samson had a large smile, talking about her first berth to compete from March 1 to 3 in Brampton.
“I really wanted to [make it] last year and I thought it was going to be a possibility, but then I ended up getting challenged and I lost so I couldn’t make [OFSAA]. It was very disappointing, but when I made it this year I was crying I was so happy,” she said.
After she lost her gold medal match at COSSA (Central Ontario Secondary School Athletics championship on Feb. 16 in Trenton) and hurt her head, she was upset and worried about a repeat of the year before. But the challenge didn’t come and her dream came true, albeit a year later.
Klose calls this a “cohesive group and they worked well all year.”
He adds it was a “fun year” to coach this group.
Unlike last year when there were six wrestlers in two weight classes, the team covered the full gamut of wrestling weight classes from 41 kilograms up to 89 kilograms. This helped with team results and prevented Hawks wrestlers from having to compete against each other.
Grade 12 Dylan Freake is the eldest of the group, but it is his first year wrestling.
The next two senior wrestlers are Matt Manning, who finished second and Emily Klose, who finished third. They are both in Grade 11 and have another year of eligibility.
“For the most part, we’re looking at it as a growth year for these young people to see the tournament and that can only make them better for the next year,” Klose said.
Although taking eight athletes is an achievement, there will be schools with larger contingents in an event that boasts upwards of 800 wrestlers, coach Klose said. Getting to represent COSSA with other schools from our area diminishes the daunting nature of the large field of competition and enables Hawks wrestlers to support COSSA competitors from other schools.
The other wrestlers advancing are Noelle Dupret-Smith, who finished second and Emily Klose and Karissa Riopelle, both third at COSSA.
There is a fulfilling satisfaction for Aidan Coles, who finished second at COSSA to punch his ticket to the all-provincials
“After practicing all year and finally having all the effort and blood and sweat and tears you put into it to finally get rewarded is such an amazing feeling,” he said.
The second year wrestler in Grade 10 believes improvement can only come from his experience wrestling among the best in the province.
The excellence displayed by the girls on the team has been a constant this season, Klose said.
As a team, they have shone.
“They won the Kawartha championship and were second at COSSA, which was awesome. There is a good core and they just feed off each other in the mat room. That takes them further at higher end competitions. We’ll see what they do at OFSAA,” he said.
One of those girls is Hannah Riopelle, who is a rookie and a Grade 9 athlete.
She didn’t have to compete at COSSA because there wasn’t an opponent in her weight class.
However she had to get into that position by winning Kawartha. Earning a spot at the all-provincials didn’t cross her mind then, except for her coach telling her it was possible, but she still welcomes the opportunity to compete.
“I’m scared, but, I think maybe I’ll [face a wrestler with the same anxiety] because maybe they made it the same way I did. I’m just happy there are more people to wrestle,” she said.