The GTN Wrestling Club was in full swing in February, hosting the North West Zone championships on February 2nd. This is the first North West Zone Championship in recent years to be held in Masset for any sport. A clinician was flown in to run this event. Community members came down to support and watch the wrestling matches. GTN won the North West Zone banners in both the male and female division for the second year. Next year is shaping up to be a big year as Smithers, Hazelton and Prince Rupert now have wrestling clubs and will be competing for the banners.
The GTN Wrestling Club sent 6 athletes to the BC High School Provincial Wrestling Championships in Langley held on February 18th and 19th. This trip was made possible by the generous donations from School District 50, Masset Haida Lions, Gwaii Trust, Mackenzie Furniture and Chown River Gallery. Coach Cst. Joshua Smith, Coach Rob Brown and Athletic Director Christine Cunningham travelled with the club and made the following comments concerning the experience.
Rob Brown - "I am proud of the whole team and can't wait to get back at it. I would like to thank Josh Smith for showing me how to be a coach over the past 2 years."
Christine Cunningham - "We have been so fortunate at GTN to have committed community coaches who have spread their enthusiasm for the sport to our youth. Wrestling has opened up a sporting opportunity to some of our students who either have not been interested in participating in team sports, or have never been exposed to a combat sport. Attending Provincials exposes our athletes to a higher level of competition which gives them added motivation as they move forward in their training. We would like to thank all our sponsors who helped make our trips possible".
Josh Smith - "I was impressed by their determination; everyone gave 100%".
Club Captains Domanic White and Sierra Brown-Wesley both won matches and placed in the top 12 for the Province in their respective weight class. The Masset athletes were inspired meeting former Olympian Gold Medalist Carol Huynh who started her wrestling career in Hazleton, BC. During the final ceremonies, a Matriarch for the area welcomed all the athletes and spectators to the territory and recognized Sierra Brown-Wesley as the First Indigenous Female Wrestler from Masset to compete in a Provincial Wrestling Tournament and win a match. The future looks bright for the Masset Wrestling Club who will be entering into its 4th season next year.