Hard work pays off: Prince Albert wrestler nabs bronze double at nationals

Owen Ferchuk of the Prince Albert Wrestling Club took home two bronze medals after competing in the 2024 Canadian Wrestling Championships in Ontario. -- SaskWrestling Photo.

Prince Albert’s Owen Ferchuk made the most out of his trip to the 2024 Canadian Wrestling Championships in Mississauga.

The 125 kg grappler from the Prince Albert Wrestling Club took home bronze medals in the U19 Men’s Freestyle and U19 Men’s Greco-Roman competitions.

It was Ferchuk’s first trip to nationals after he was forced to sit out the 2023 tournament due to injury. He said just competing at the event was an honour.

“The level of competition at that tournament was crazy,” he said. “It was pretty awesome to see a lot of those guys competing. The level of skill is the highest I’ve seen, and being able to compete in that means a lot—especially being able to place.”

Ferchuk took the long route to the Freestyle bronze medal. He lost his opening bout in the 125 kg class to eventual gold medalist Jagroop Dhinsa of B.C., but rattled off back-to-back wins to earn a spot in the bronze medal match.

Once there, he defeated Ontario’s Sarthak Gaikwad 16-6 over two rounds to take third spot.

“I would say that was for sure the harder tournament to wrestle,” Ferchuk said of the Freestyle competition. “I lost my first match, so I immediately got put on the B Side and I had to work my way back to get the bronze.

“It was definitely more of a mental battle than a physical battle once I lost that first match, knowing I was out of the gold. For the Greco Tournament, I was pretty beat-up from Freestyle.”

Ferchuk lost his first two matches in the Greco-Roman competition, but rebounded to beat B.C.’s Sartajveer Gill for his second bronze medal of the tournament.

“It was a lot of relief knowing everything paid off—all the time on the mat and in the weight room, making sure my diet was wright, making sure my body was right,” Ferchuk said. “When you medal, it makes you really feel like everything paid off.”

Ferchuk will graduate from St. Mary High School this spring, and plans to enroll in the SUNTEP education program next fall. He also plans to keep wrestling with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.

Ferchuk was one of four Prince Albert wrestlers who competed at nationals. Kayley Clarke, Noah Remy and Jonah Sanderson also wrestled in Mississauga, with Clarke bringing home a gold medal from the U19 Women’s 61 kg Greco-Roman event.

All four athletes also represent Saskatchewan at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG).