Progression in Ontario

Cole Sanderson at the Bishop Ryan Invitational tournament ---- Trent Billette/Submitted

Three wrestlers from the PAWC hopped on a plane to test their limits

Kalin Langford, Cole Sanderson and Rory Iron were in tough over the holidays as they flew to Ontario to tussle with some top-end wrestlers.

Prior to leaving, head coach Brook Smith wanted his wrestlers to compete, stay healthy and return with a new outlook on their work ethic. After delivering solid performances at both the Bishop Ryan Invitational in Hamilton and Matmen Classic in Brampton, he can safely say his wrestlers achieved that.

Langford, who lost just one match last season, earning silver at the Saskatchewan Provincial Championships, faced off against a national champion at one of his weight classes and a bronze medalist in another at the Bishop Ryan Invitational.

“He did well, he wasn’t man-handled,” Smith said.

“The next day we went to the Matmen Classic, and Kalin wrestled four matches there. He competed against the two same guys from the day before and he did better again … overall he competed in six matches, he wrestled almost 24 minutes competitively. He was pushed right to his limit every step of the way. He put up a very valiant fight.”

For the first tournament of the year, Smith was impressed with the way his veteran handled himself.

“It was a bit of a eye-opener for him,” he said.

“Part of the reason we went to that tournament is because we wanted to find competition that are going to push us and challenge us in ways that we weren’t necessarily able to manage. If we went to a tournament that we were going to win, we were going to be at the wrong tournament.”

Iron earned his stripes, wrestling in a heavier weight class than Sanderson, who are both similar in weight. It was a learning process for both wrestlers, but Sanderson was able to come away with a handful of victories.

“Sanderson got exactly what I wanted to see him personally get out of this trip,” Smith said.

“He wrestled his first match at Bishop Ryan, and he lost. It wasn’t a great match but it was really good in the sense that, with one more second, he would have been wrestling in the second round.”

“He proceeded onto the consolation side, and had five more fights or bouts, and he won all of them. He fought some tough kids in there.”

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