By Woodard, Dale on December 13, 2019.
Camille Bly and Angelina Ellis-Toddington have nationals on their minds.
Granted, that’s still a ways off, but the duo from the Lethbridge Amateur Wrestling Association are off to a good start as they eye up their all-Canadian goal.
Following a gold medal for Ellis-Toddington and a bronze medal for Bly at the season-opening tournament two weeks ago at Wetaskiwin, the two athletes and the rest of their teammates will get to grapple at home this weekend as the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute Green and Gold Tournament runs today and Saturday at LCI.
Approximately 150 junior and senior high wrestlers from around Alberta will be at LCI for the two-day event that begins tonight at 6 p.m. with the Junior High Tournament and Zone 1 Alberta Winter Games trials and continues with the seniors Saturday at 9 a.m. All matches are in the large LCI gym.
After mining medals in Wetaskiwin, Bly and Ellis-Toddington look for a repeat performance at home this weekend, ideally a stepping stone to their year-end goal.
“Last year I won rurals and I got fourth at provincials,” said Bly, 17 and a Grade 12 student at LCI. “So I would like to win provincials. But I know there are some really good girls, so I just hope to learn from every person that I wrestle.”
For Ellis-Toddington, 16, who is in Grade 11 at Chinook High School, a berth at nationals would not only be a return trip after appearances in Grade 9 and 10, it would also mark a return to an event she’s thrived at, having won Greco Roman nationals two years in a row and taking the bronze in freestyle last year.
“My goal is nationals this year. I’m just working through rurals and provincials up to nationals In Edmonton,” she said.
In the meantime, the LCI Green and Gold Tournament beckons.
“I know some of the girls. There are some that I’ve faced for a few years in a row and you kind of get used to some of the faces after awhile,” said Bly of what she’ll face this weekend. “It’s fun to be around here because then you can have family and friends come watch, but it’s also a lot of work setting everything up. But it’s always worth it.”
Ellis-Toddington faces a new challenge in her Grade 11 year as she moves up to the 69-70-kilogram class.
“I’m in a new category this year, so that’s exciting,” she said. “There are lots of new faces than what I’ve been seeing over the past couple of years.”
The Wetaskiwin tournament was her first glimpse at the new weight division.
“It was a little bit different getting used to the different strengths and style, but it’s pretty similar,” said Ellis-Toddington.
The Green and Gold Tournament will feature schools from Calgary as well as some new programs from Cardston and Stirling, said LAWA head coach Pat Selk.
“This is one of their first tournaments. So we should have pretty good numbers. We also have Medicine Hat and us and with the Calgary teams. It’ll make for a decent tournament, very competitive and that’s what we want.
“I expect we’ll do well. We’ve got some pretty high-calibre wrestlers here, so I would imagine we’ll do pretty well.”
The LAWA features some younger athletes getting their first look at wrestling.
“We start in Grade 6 and go up,” said Selk, whose roster consists of students from LCI, Chinook and Winston Churchill. “For the younger ones, it’s a different sport. It’s a tough sport for some. So they have to get used to it really quick, but they’ve all done really well. It’s an attitude thing. They know going in that they are going to struggle for the first part of it.”
The Alberta Schools Athletic Association announced this week that Chinook High School will be the host of the 2021 ASAA Provincial Wrestling Championship.
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