The old and the new at Preston City Championships
by Randy Pascal
There was certainly no lack of familiar faces achieving success at the Ron Preston SDSSAA City Wrestling Chmapionships, with the likes of
Erica Turcotte, Emilie Charette, Logan Blanchard and Kyle Fletcher all duplicating their gold medal performances of one year ago.
Refreshing, however, was yet another nice blend of newcomers to the sport topping their respective weight categories, with Scott Vaillancourt and
Amanda Stresman among those who would lead the way.
"My best friend, Erica Turcotte, is doing really well in wrestling and she wanted me to wrestle too," siad Stresman, one of six athletes representing the
resurgeant wrestling program at Sudbury Secondary School under the guidance of head coach Jeff Pilon.
While Stresman also shares Turcotte's love of hockey, she admits to not being fully prepared for the challenge that lie ahead back in October. "She
(Erica) said it was hard, but I really underestimated it," acknowledged Stresman.
"I didn't understand how physically tiring it was, how much a match took out of you." The 17 year old grade 12 student is looking at pursuing a career in
the Air Force, hopefully attending the Royal Military College in Kingston and continuing with her new-found love of wrestling.
If successful in cracking the RMC roster, Stresman will look to build on the lessons learned in her rookie campaign. "You have to work on doing every
single move at 100%, and always thinking ahead," she said.
For Logan Blanchard of Lo-Ellen, this is something of an "old hat", capturing his third consecutive city title while also being recognized as Male MVP.
Surprisingly, perhaps, this year was not all clear sailing for the grade 12 student looking to attend and wrestle with Laurentian University next year.
"I was having a hard time at the mini-meet level early in the year," Blanchard explained. "At "The Boot" (tournament), I went out and scored a 10-0 win
and that got me pointed in the right direction."
Thankfully, Blanchard also can count on solid competition while he is travelling about, representing the Sudbury Regional Wrestling Club. Some
recent success in his SRWC singlet also added fuel to the fire.
"I placed 5th at Provincials and that gave me a little more confidence going into this week and next week," said Blanchard. Though he admits to have
always considered the option of staying at home to pursue post-secondary studies as something that appealed to him, the addition of the varsity program at
L.U. certainly helped seal the deal.
"Wrestling is my sport of choice," said Blanchard. "I knew that I liked the idea of staying in my hometown, but now that they have wrestling, it's icing
on the cake." Joining Blanchard in garnering MVP honours was Natalie Mullin-Belanger, also of Lo-Ellen, while Eric Tessier and Manon
Paquette, both from Macdonald-Cartier, walked off with Rookie Wrestler of the Year accolades.
The entire Sudbury contingent, some 35 athletes strong, will have little time to rest, heading to Sault Ste Marie for NOSSA competition on Friday. First
place finishers in the Soo will qualify for the 2014 OFSAA Wrestling Championships taking place at the Powerade Centre in Brampton on March 5th
Following is a complete listing of the weight class winners from the city meet:
47.5 kg - Erica Turcotte (Sudbury Secondary)
51 kg - Manon Paquette (Macdonald-Cartier)
54 kg - Talia Brown (Sudbury Secondary)
57.5 kg - Charlene Lapointe (Confederation)
61 kg - Emilie Charette (Sacré Coeur)
64 kg - Amanda Stresman (Sudbury Secondary)
72 kg - Alannah Day (Lockerby)
83 kg - Safiyyah Briggs (Sudbury Secondary)
UNL - Racha El-Darazi (Confederation)
44 kg - Andrew Paris (Lasalle)
51 kg - Avery Kataquapit (Lasalle)
54 kg - Dustin Pretty (Lasalle)
57.5 kg - Logan Blanchard (Lo-Ellen)
61 kg - Billy Wylie (Sudbury Secondary)
64 kg - Eathan Draper (Macdonald-Cartier)
67.5 kg - Scott Vaillancourt (Macdonald-Cartier)
72 kg - Randy Beauvais (Notre-Dame)
77 kg - Logan Baronette (Lasalle)
83 kg - Kyle Fletcher (Lasalle)
89 kg - Andrew Swan (St Benedict)
95 kg - Will Bennett (Sudbury Secondary)
UNL - Jon Slawly (Lasalle)