Falcons win rural banner in Bonnyville

Wrestling: Four girls from Okotoks to compete at provincials at home

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012 11:53 am

Foothills Composite Falcon Cassidy Barnert, on top, breaks down Wetaskiwin's Zena LeClercq en route to winning the gold medal at the rural provincial final on Feb. 25 in Bonnyville.
Foothills Composite Falcon Cassidy Barnert, on top, breaks down Wetaskiwin's Zena LeClercq en route to winning the gold medal at the rural provincial final on Feb. 25 in Bonnyville.
Brandon MacLeod/Bonnyville Nouvelle

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The Foothills Falcons girls had a bonny good time at the rural wrestling high school provincial championships.

All three members of the Foothills Composite Falcons wrestling team won medals at the championships in Bonnyville on Feb. 24-25 and their performance was good enough to earn the 4A high school rural provincial banner.

The Falcons were led by Cassidy Barnert who won the gold medal at 61kg when she pinned Zena LeClercq from Wetaskiwin in the second round of the final.

“She didn’t score on me in the first round — I think the score was 2-0,” said Barnert, a Grade 11 student at Foothills Composite. “Then I was able to pin her in the second round.”

Barnert began the 2011-12 season at 65kg, but dropped down to 61kg. She said the drop in weight helped but that’s not why she took home gold.

“I think it is a factor but it’s not the whole reason I won — I have definitely improved since I was in Grade 10 last year,” Barnert said.

Foothills Composite High School is hosting the high school provincial wresting championships on March 9-10. The championships consists of the top five wrestlers from across the Province .

The biggest surprise for the Falcons in Bonnyville came from Grade 12 student Olivia Pon, who won the bronze at 61kg.

“She has won a couple of matches this year but this time she wrestled beyond her means,” said Falcons wrestling coach Mark Barnert. “She’s a Grade 12 student who just started wrestling — I wish we would have had her for the whole three years.”

Pon agreed the rurals was one of her best meets.

“There are times I have lost all my matches but I still wrestled well, because of my opponent’s skill level,” Pon said. “But yes, I thought I wrestled pretty well.”

Pon won the bronze medal match by default. However, she had beaten her bronze medal opponent, Dariel Smith, earlier in the round-robin.

“I was disappointed because I was excited to be wrestling for a bronze medal — there were also some new moves that I wanted to try,” she said.

Victoria Bergeron got the Falcons a silver medal at 50kg. There were two girls in the weight class, but Bergeron’s efforts were valuable in putting the Falcons over the top to win the banner.

The Falcons’ banner season caught the coach’s daughter, Cassidy, by surprise.

“I was shocked because we only had three girls and to see how many other girls were on the other teams I didn’t think we could win,” Cassidy said.

“It really made my weekend to help bring the wrestling program back to Foothills again.”

It was Foothills’ first 4A girls wrestling banner.

The Falcons won a 3A banner in 2000-01.

The Highwood Mustangs from High River won the Bill Young Trophy as 3A girls champion at the rural provincials in High River.

Young is the former wrestling coach of the Highwood Mustangs and is a resident of the Cayley area just south of High River.

A Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) Knight took home the silver medal at the rural provincials, however, Abi Watkins got something more valuable than a medal in the 57kg final against Amber Maschke from Olds.

“I lost the first round and in the second round, I was up by five points and I got greedy,” said Watkins a Grade 10 student at HTA. “I wanted more points and I ended up getting thrown and pinned.”

There were less than 30 seconds left when Watkins was pinned.

She came close to pinning Maschke, but wasn’t able to quite get both of Maschke’s shoulders to touch the mat at the same time.

Watkins pinned all three of her opponents prior to the final.


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