By Lethbridge Herald on October 19, 2023.
By Justin Seward
The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns’ wrestling team begins its inaugural season on the mats today with a focus on the process from competition to competition.
“Well, preparation’s been going better than anticipated actually,” said Shawn Daye-Finley, Horns wrestling coach.
“ So, we started the year in September, (we) started training, and we figured if we build it, people will come, and people have been coming, and people are hearing and word is spreading. So we actually have open try outs, people can come try wrestling any time. We’ll never steer people away. But we have quite a few wrestlers that have been wrestling for a number of years and they’re in here and excited to compete, and they’re chomping at the bit for this competition coming up this weekend in Calgary.”
Daye-Finley wants the team focus to be on the process.
“So like long term, we want to use these tournaments as stepping stones to our international kind of competitions, making national teams, winning the nationals at even a higher level than the U Sport, but in order to do that we have to focus on the process,” he said.
“And a lot our athletes are pretty fresh, pretty green and young in their wrestling careers. A lot of us are in our first or second year in this program. So we’re setting realistic expectations. We’re going out there and we’re trying to focus on the process, win or lose in these competitions, we really want to build a growth mindset into the culture of our program.”
The head coach has the competitors working on the technical side of the sport including attacks per minute rather than results.
He hopes the athletes will gain of sense of belonging with each match.
“I want them to learn that it’s attainable,” he said.
“That if they work hard enough and long enough at this thing, that the sky is the limit of what they’re capable of. Our sport’s unique in that you get out of it what you put into it and that’s been taught to me as a metaphor for life. Not every sport is like that. I can run my whole life and train sprinting and I’ll never be Usain Bolt; I’m not built for it. But in wrestling … if you put enough effort and time into this sport, the rewards will always pay you back, whether it’s in relationships, whether it’s in learning a work ethic, whether it’s discipline, it always finds its way back to you.”
U of L wrestler Hayden Devoy saw the wrestling on the university’s website and it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“For a wrestling program, the first one in Lethbridge history, I think it’s a pretty big deal for the community of Lethbridge and the wrestlers here,” said Devoy.
Devoy thinks that Daye-Finley has a vision for all the wrestlers.
“We all know that we can definitely win at these competitions and make a name for ourselves as a Pronghorn Athletics team,” said Devoy.
Between perseverance and hard work that the athletes have been putting is what Devoy thinks will be the key to success.
“It’s been crazy,” said Devoy.
“We’ve been going 12 hours a week for the past month and a bit and we’ve been training really hard. So I think that will make a difference.”
U of L with host a competition on Jan. 26-27.