Four Mariposa Wrestling Club grapplers earned precious medals at the 2018 Ontario Winter Games this weekend.
It was a golden moment for Lauren Smith, who was crowned queen of the 43-kilogram division at the two-day competition which wrapped up Saturday.
“It means a lot to me,” said Smith. “I had some people at school that said I couldn’t do it … and I showed them I could.”
The 12-year-old Tay Shores Public School student is only in her second year of wrestling. She said her family helped introduce her to the sport.
“My brothers and sisters used to do jujitsu and then moved to wrestling three years ago,” said Smith, who found herself dragged to Mariposa Wrestling Club practices and meets. “It made me want to try it and now I really love it.”
Her brother, Logan, was unable to join her atop the podium, but did win a silver medal in the tough 46-kilo competition. The dynamic wrestler injured his toe on the first day of competition and was in obvious pain as he tried to gut out a win in the gold-medal match against Treye Trotman.
In the end, Smith had to settle for silver. That was also the case for Orillia’s Domenick Ritchie, who lost a hard-fought battle in the championship bout of the 42-kilo weight class against Logan Cako.
Orillia’s Chloe Minten also earned a silver medal – without wrestling. The Grade 9 Twin Lakes Secondary School student had to forfeit her matches, but was awarded the silver medal because she was one of just two competitors in her weight class.
“I sprained my back earlier this season and haven’t been able to wrestle, so it’s kind of frustrating,” said Minten, who sustained the injury during a workout with her Mariposa teammates. “It’s especially disappointing because the Winter Games happen every two years and I’ll be too old to compete in the next one.”
While disappointed she was unable to compete, Minten said the Ontario Winter Games was memorable. She was chosen to recite the athlete’s oath as part of Thursday’s opening ceremonies.
“That meant a lot to me,” she said. “I’m not a public speaker and I had to do some of it in French and my French isn’t that good. It was scary.”
Her season may not be over. If she can overcome her back injury, she has earned the right to compete at her first Canadian championship in April. “I’m hoping my back gets better so I can compete at nationals in Edmonton. I hope to place in the top 10.”
There were 12 Mariposa Wrestling Club athletes that competed at the Ontario Winter Games wrestling competition which featured 179 athletes in a range of weight classes.