Two Port Alberni wrestling alumni finished strong in a national wrestling competition last month.
Paige Maher, who attends Simon Fraser University, and Scott Coulthart, who wrapped up his second year at the University of Calgary, got to compete in their first national competition in more than two years.
The Junior National Wrestling Championships took place May 26-29 in Edmonton. The competition is open to athletes who are 20 years of age and under.
Maher and Coulthart are both graduates from Alberni District Secondary School and alumni of the Alberni Wrestling program.
Maher finished with the silver medal in the 72-kilogram Junior Women’s Division. Maher dominated her opponents in the preliminary rounds en route to the gold medal match. Her opponent in the finals was Nyla Burgess, wrestling for Team Impact from Ontario. Burgess scored early in the match and then went into defensive mode, shutting down Maher’s attacks. Still behind in the final minute, Maher had to take some risks and forced a throw. Her opponent capitalized by pinning her and tweaking Maher’s elbow in the process.
Maher attempted to wrestle in the senior division the following day and won her first match, but had her elbow assessed by medical and was pulled from the tournament.
Coulthart wrestled his way to a fourth place finish in the 97-kilogram Junior Men’s Freestyle Division. Coulthart wrestled four tough opponents and had a particularly strong match against Jamile Forgues from Quebec. Coulthart chose to wrestle in the Junior Greco Roman Division the following day, where he also placed fourth.
Both Coulthart and Maher return to Vancouver Island this summer, where they intend to engage in summer employment and strength and conditioning training in preparation for wrestling next season.
Maher has also qualified to compete for Team BC at the Canada Summer Games in August.