Local wrestlers put on a performance to remember at Howard S. Billings High School this Wednesday for the first wrestling meet of the Greater Montreal Athletic Association (GMAA) season.
“I feel like the team is really getting better because we have all these amazing coaches now, way more than we had before, so I think it’s good,” said Kahnawake Survival School (KSS) wrestler Tiohahison Splicer, who has been wrestling for five years.
The KSS girls’ team ended up in second-place after the meet, with the boys’ team in fifth place for the boys’ division ahead of the GMAA all-star meet scheduled for next week.
“It’s pretty good. I’m getting back into it. I was a bit anxious before I came in, but I’m getting into it now, and I’m excited for my next matches,” said Teiokeraonhatie Horn, who wrestled with the KSS boys’ team.
“Before you get on the mat, you’re anxious or scared, but when you get on the mat and you’re wrestling, everything starts coming up and it gets fun after a while. It’s a really competitive thing.”
Grade eight KSS wrestler Lia Bear spoke to The Eastern Door after winning her first match 2-1.
“After my match, I was kind of surprised, because I didn’t expect to win it and I ended up winning, so I felt great about it,” she said.
“I hope for me and my team to have a great year. It doesn’t matter if we win or not, it just matters that we have fun doing it.”
KSS wrestling coach Brandon Stalk said the meet was an excellent opportunity to identify areas of growth for the team.
“There were a couple of matches where I think we could have won, but any small mistake in wrestling can cost them a match,” he said. “We just need to address those things in practice, but I’m happy with everyone’s performance today. Everyone wrestled hard, nobody gave up, good attitudes – that’s all I can really ask for.”
Stalk added that every meet is a learning experience.
“You learn a lot more from a loss than you do from winning a sport,” he said. “Every team here is going to take wins and losses, and we’re all going to get better from it.”
Billings took first place in the standings for both the boys’ and girls’ South Shore divisions. In the girls’ division, KSS took second, Massey Vanier High School third, École Secondaire P.G. Ostiguy (ESPGO) fourth, and Heritage Regional High School fifth. In the boys division, ESPGO came second, Heritage took third, Massey Vanier took fourth, and KSS took fifth.
Billings coach Peter Montour said all wrestled well, and that the meet saw some of the toughest wrestlers the GMAA has to offer.
“If you missed it, you missed a show,” he said.
“We’re very proud of all of our wrestlers, the student body and staff of Billings pulling this event off at the last minute.”
The All-Star meet will start at 1 p.m. next Thursday at John Rennie High School.