Wrestling season now underway

Carpenter High School wrestler Carah Oftedal (top) applies a hold to fellow wrestler Marlie Bundschuh during a practice session held at the school last week. The first high school wrestling tournament of the season is scheduled for December.

Carpenter High School wrestler Carah Oftedal (top) applies a hold to fellow wrestler Marlie Bundschuh during a practice session held at the school last week. The first high school wrestling tournament of the season is scheduled for December.

by Phil Ambroziak

Carpenter High School wrestling coach Jason Guenther is optimistic his team will be able to pin down a provincial medal before the 2013-14 season comes to a close.
Wrestling practices began at CHS earlier this month and, although the season’s inaugural tournament isn’t until Dec. 14 in Saskatoon, Guenther said the response has been stronger than ever before.

“At our first practice, we had a really good turnout – about 14 students including 10 boys and four girls,” he said. “We haven’t officially put our team roster together yet, as some often decide it’s not the sport for them after coming to try out. But, the interest is certainly there right now.”

A handful of the current wrestlers were also a part of the team last year while the rest are new to the sport. One new wrestler in particular is Grade 10 student Carah Oftedal.

“I saw wrestling posters all over the school and, seeing as I decided not to play hockey this year, thought I’d try something different,” Oftedal said. “It’s been pretty fun so far.”

Guenther went on to say wrestling is definitely  a sport for the right type of individual – someone looking for one-on-one competition.

“Even though we call it a wrestling team, on the mat it’s just you and your opponent,” he said. “Unlike other sports, if you make a mistake in a wrestling match, you own it. That’s a lot of pressure and can be very intimidating in the very beginning, but after a few matches that hurdle is easily overcome.”

Grade 12 wrestler Michael Murray agrees, stating he came a long way from being a rookie at the start of last season to finishing sixth in the province in his weight category.

“This year, I want to be number one at provincials and hopefully, one day, compete nationally and just continue from there,” he said.

Murray will have his chance to take the first step toward his goal when he competes at the Dec. 14 wrestling tournament.

“It’s kind of a preseason tournament,” Guenther said. “There’s not a lot on the line, but it’s a good opportunity for the novice wrestlers to see if it’s something they really want to pursue. And, for the elite wrestlers, it gives them extra practice and a chance to get back into things again.”

In addition to the high school team, Guenther also coaches younger wrestlers enrolled in the Northern Pikes Wrestling Club. That group’s season kicked off with practice sessions last month and has attracted more than 15 participants. Their first tournament takes place in January. The CHS season traditionally wraps up near Easter.

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