The Charles Hays Secondary School wrestling team poses together during Northwest zones in Smithers on Feb. 17. Top row: Austin Houle, Dylon Cruz, Logan Sears, Tatum Acker and Josh Wittchen. Bottom row: Mason Dileta, Aaron Roubicek and Cody Schaeffer (Submitted photo)

Charles Hays wrestling on the rise

Prince Rupert Rainmakers wrestling team is ready for more success after their first season

When he began the process of building a wrestling program at Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS), Dane Waldal wasn’t sure what kind of success a fledgling team would have.

Four months and two individual zone championship wins later, he is still impressed by what his athletes were able to accomplish.

“I was absolutely blown away,” Waldal said. “We got started a little bit late, and for all the imperfect things that happened this season, they managed to put on a great performance at zones.”

READ MORE: MVP of the Week – Leaving it all on the mat

Competing in their first wrestling competition in years, the Rainmakers had a strong showing at the Northwest zones championships in Smithers on Feb. 17. Eight wrestlers from CHSS took the mat with Tatum Acker beating Neve Foreman to win the girls’ 75-kilogram division and Josh Wittchen beating Hunter Aitken to win the boys’ 78-kilogram division.

Waldal said most of the matches were closer than the final results indicated.

“Every kid had at least a chance at scoring a pin,” he said. “They had their opponent close to a pin and they all scored points in their match, which is rare for a wrestler.”

Waldal is originally from the Regina area in Saskatchewan, and had an opportunity to learn how to wrestle from national championship-level coaches. He has competed in both wrestling and amateur level mixed martial arts bouts, and over the years, developed a passion for the different arts and styles of fighting.

When he arrived at CHSS in 2017 as a teacher, Waldal saw an opportunity to share that passion with young athletes and to build up Prince Rupert’s next generation of grapplers.

“I knew I might not have the most experience, but the school had wrestling mats and lots of interested kids,” he said. “So it was up to me to give the kids an opportunity to get on the mats.”

Waldal spent the early part of the school’s fall term putting up posters, spreading the word and building up hype for the team. In November, the team had its first practice, which was attended by approximately 40 students. Waldal started by teaching the group some of the basic moves and techniques of wrestling before moving onto more complex movements.

READ MORE: MVP of the Week – The fighter’s life

That first practice was a challenge and Waldal said he could see which of the athletes really enjoyed the grind.

“There’s the first time you get on the mat and you’re pushing each other and throwing each other,” he said. “Some kids when they get thrown for the first time or they get down on the mat, they have trouble getting back up.

“What I find with good wrestlers is that those kinds of adverse situations are what get them more excited.”

The wrestlers that remained on the team formed that core group that travelled to Smithers, and even though they did not all win their matches, Waldal is confident they have built a foundation that will carry them through to next year’s season.

“I can’t wait until next year,” he said. “Most of them had only seen a wrestling mat for the first time in November.

“Next year we’ll be ready.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rare grizzly bear sightings near Dodge Cove

Several bears have made their way to Digby Island in the past few weeks

President and CEO leaving Coast Mountain College

Burt will say goodbye to CMNT come September

CN train derailment cleared between Terrace and Prince Rupert

The CN mainline is now open, following a train derailment mid-way between… Continue reading

“Does Kirby care?” Heiltsuk Nation using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

FYI: Sixth St. lane closed for the day

The East lane on Sixth St. between First and Second Ave. is under construction

Everybody off the bus! Fortnite dance craze comes to Prince Rupert

Dance Academy of Prince Rupert wraps up summer dance camps with nod to video game phenomenon

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Most Read