Preseason wrestling tournament a learning experience

by Phil Ambroziak

To be successful at any sport, gaining as much experience as possible is key.

That’s the message Carpenter High School wrestling coach Jason Guenther shared with the five athletes he took to Saskatoon Dec. 14 for the Wist Preseason Tournament held at Walter Murray High School in Saskatoon.

“It was a great event that allowed the wrestlers to get their feet wet a little bit, especially the rookies who were given an opportunity to have their first real matches and to understand the sport a little better,” Guenther said.

Named for former teacher and wrestling coach Gil Wist, the tournament attracted close to 300 novice wrestlers and about 100 elite competitors. Representing CHS were veteran Jonah Dileone and rookies Carah Oftedal, Drayden Derocher, Jacob Bacon and Marlie Bundschuh.

“They did pretty good,” Guenther continued. “They all won at least one of their matches. The good thing about this tournament is it featured novices against novices and elite wrestlers against other elite wrestlers. There’s nothing more demoralizing than having a wrestler with five years of experience completely destroy a rookie their first time out. That’s how it was back in my day – everyone was just put into one big pool. The new way allows the wrestling community an opportunity to better prepare each competitor.”

The CHS wrestling team is currently off for Christmas holidays, but will find themselves back in the thick of things almost immediately afterward when they compete at the Prince Albert Small Communities Tournament Jan. 11. Meanwhile, some local wrestlers will be lacing up their boots before the end of the holidays when they take part in a wrestling camp in P.A.

“I’ve got one wrestler going for sure and a couple others who are thinking about it,” Guenther said. “This camp will be a great opportunity for them to stay active during the break and to also learn a few things, or maybe a different style, from a different coach. As for the tournament Jan. 11, I hope to take a few more wrestlers with me this time. It’s a good tournament for both novice and elite wrestlers, and it excludes schools from Saskatoon and Regina. This sort of levels the playing field a bit for the smaller schools and gives the wrestlers more experience before they do have to go up against some of the larger schools.”

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