By Woodard, Dale on March 3, 2020.
Brantley Saar was perfect at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association rural wrestling provincials last weekend.
The 16-year-old, Grade 11 athlete from Chinook High School will now look for a repeat performance at the provincial level.
Saar went undefeated at the two-day event at LCI en route to a repeat rurals gold.
“I won all my matches and ended up getting gold, which was very exciting,” said Saar.
“The goal going in was to win again. I won last year and I wanted that repeat and now I want to three-peat next year. It feels good. I just focused on wrestling well and not the results.”
The next stop is the ASAA provincials in Calgary March 13-14 and Saar won’t be alone.
A total of 19 local wrestlers will also hit the mat in Calgary in two weeks
In their inaugural seasons, Stirling School and Cardston High School each qualified three athletes as well.
“They did really well,” said Lethbridge Amateur Wrestling Association head coach Pat Selk. “They wrestled hard and had a lot of competitive matches. We had 15 wrestlers in the top-two. We knew we were pretty strong throughout, but you never know. It’s sports and things can happen and they have to wrestle strong and wrestled well for it all to work well. It was competitive. With the new schools that are popping up there are a lot of strong kids. It’s just a matter of time before they get all the experience and then it’s going to be really competitive. We’re really excited.”
Though not thinking too much about the end result on the weekend, there were a few prior runner-up performances on Saar’s mind.
“I did feel the pressure at one point when I was thinking about the final,” he said. “I was thinking ‘If I lose this I’m the guy who gets silver again’, which happens a lot with me. Silver is still a good spot, there’s nothing against that, but the pressure is always on.”
After a silver medal at last year’s provincials, Saar heads to Calgary looking to move one spot up the podium.
However, he goes in with the same mindset.
“You learn not think about what’s happening later and where you’re going to be and just focus on the match that’s ahead,” he said. “Don’t worry about the gold medal if you’re in the first round.”
Provincials in Calgary will be the first one for more than half the local contingent, said Selk.
“This will be an experience for them and we don’t expect a lot because it’s your first one. But that being said, we have a lot of strong wrestlers, so we’re excited.”
In the team category, the LCI male and female teams each won 3A gold, while the Chinook male and female teams each earned the 4A silver.
The Stirling School male team won the 1A/2A bronze medal.
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