Hannah Tuplin has long carried the wrestling torch for Chemainus Secondary School.
While it would be almost impossible for anyone else to live up to her incredible high school career, Luther Tidder and Emily Reid have done their best as the current ambassadors of the sport to represent the school in the highest levels of competition.
Both recently extended themselves to the brink on the mats during the provincial championships at the Langley Events Centre.
Tidder was fifth during the Island finals held on familiar territory at Chemainus Secondary School and didn’t make it among the top finishers in the 107 kilogram class at provincials, but it was a tough competition with 22 wrestlers in the field.
Tidder had few others to wrestle along the way last year at 120 kg, but since slimming down, the Grade 10 student has all sorts of opponents at the same weight.
“It’s so much more fun now,” he said. “You don’t just go in the weight class and find out you’re not wrestling anybody.”
Tidder would have liked a higher placing, but is just glad for all the competition.
“It wasn’t the best, but I tried my hardest,” he explained. “I think the coaches were pleased with my efforts.”
Nationals are still ahead for Tidder in Nova Scotia April 5.
All the workouts have him in tip-top shape and “for next year, I’m dropping down to 90 kilograms,” he said.
Grade 12 student Reid did not have any competition in the 110 kg heavyweight division during the Island event and landed on the top of the podium just for showing up.
The previous Cougar Invitational, usually held in Chemainus but moved to Frances Kelsey in Mill Bay due to a scheduling mix-up, featured two other challengers for Reid, including her own sister Elizabeth, who moved up from Grade 8 to help fill out the class, but still weighed in below 90 kg.
“I haven’t wrestled her in a competition before so it was pretty fun,” noted Reid, who won that match and defeated the other girl from Nanaimo.
At the Islands in Chemainus, “I wasn’t expecting anybody in my weight class,” she said.
Reid received the gold medal by default.
“I didn’t have to get changed into my singlet or anything,” she said. “I just had to stand on the podium. I’m not in it just to be handed gold medals.”
Fortunately, that wasn’t the case in the provincials and Reid had to work hard for a silver medal. She began with a gruelling first match against Jessica Wentzel from Elphinstone.
“I got behind her once and I didn’t quite get her to the ground,” Reid indicated.
After the referee blew the whistle for a reset, “she smacked her head into my head,” Reid noted. “She had to withdraw due to an injury.”
That put Reid into the gold medal match against Amanda Silveri of St. Thomas More.
“It did go really well,” said Reid. “I attempted a hip toss, but she defended it and took me to the ground.”
Silveri ended up with a pin for the win, but “I did my best,” said Reid.
“I felt I developed quite a bit since last year,” she added. “I’m happy I got quite a few more matches in.”
Two full seasons under Reid’s belt mainly consisted of three practices each week for limited matches, but she feels it was totally a worthwhile experience.
“I had a lot of fun. I wished I’d joined sooner, but at least I joined it.”