Wrestling to the top

P.A. wrestlers Kalin Langford, Trevor Bannerman, Blake Michelle, Cole Sanderson and Danika Lalonde (from left) attended the North American Indigenous Games last week, winning four medals for Team Saskatchewan. (Photo courtesy Roxanne Richards)

P.A. wrestlers earn four medals for Team Saskatchewan at North American Indigenous Games

Sixteen Saskatchewan wrestlers were in Toronto last week for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), and 12 of those athletes are coming home with medals.

Team Saskatchewan performed dominantly, picking up six gold, four silver and two bronze medals at the competition, with Prince Albert’s five-wrestler contingent responsible for one third of the medal haul. In the team rankings the Saskatchewan women finished first with 37 points, nearly twice as many as runner-up British Columbia. On the men’s side, Saskatchewan and Wisconsin were tied for the top score, but a higher gold medal count pushed Wisconsin into first place with 41 points to Saskatchewan’s 39.

“Overall I think for the P.A. kids, they knew that they were going to do really well,” P.A. Wrestling Club (PAWC) manager Roxanne Richards said.

“Our club coach Cody Souter has been involved with NAIG as a coach and he competed. He knew that our P.A. kids would do really well and he said he expected that they would all be at least top-four, which is exactly what happened. We have some very strong wrestlers coming out of P.A. Some of the best in the country. Some of the best in North America.”

Among the P.A. wrestlers, Danika Lalonde bested Manitoban Mikwan Dumas in a best-of-three final to take the gold in the cadet women 49-kilogram contest. Lalonde, the newest and youngest member of the PAWC, was originally supposed to compete in the 46-kilogram weight class, but was forced to “wrestle up” because there were no other competitors at the 46-kilogram level.

“That’s only a difference of about 10 pounds. But when you’re only 90 pounds, 10 pounds makes a huge difference,” Richards said.

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