Family trend continues at games
Wrestling: Grappler fifth Watkins to compete on the mat
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 05, 2014 06:00 am
A family trend
Watkins results at previous Alberta Winter Games:
Zach — 2002, silver, 60kg
Spencer — 2004, gold, N/A
Spencer — 2006, gold, 60kg
Reid — 2008, gold, 60kg.
Abi — 2010, silver 46kg
The family torch has been passed for the upcoming Alberta Winter Games.
Sadie Watkins, 13, will be the fifth member of Okotoks’ Watkins family to participate in the games when she puts on the Big Country singlet this weekend in Banff to wrestle at 46kg.
She said while she’s proud to be a Watkins, it can be tough going into a provincial tournament following in the footsteps of her older brothers and sister.
“I think it is cool how our whole family has the talent and can wrestle and go far with it,” said Sadie, a Grade 8 student at John Paul II Collegiate. “I guess it’s our genetics, I don’t know… I think we all have the drive.”
Of course, it’s not going to be easy in Banff with the pressure of her brothers and sisters having won four gold medals and two silver medals at the games in past years.
“(Older brother) Reid and everybody has done so good,” she said. “Everybody expects something out of us because we are ‘Watkins.’
“It’s like ‘C’mon you’re a Watkins.’’’
Sadie made the Zone 2 (Big Country) team by default, as there was no one in her weight class during the tryouts in Cochrane in December. However, she didn’t go to Cochrane for some MacKay’s ice cream, she went there to wrestle.
She had two exhibition matches against girls in a heavier weight classes and won them both.
Things will be slightly different when Sadie steps on the mat in Banff.
The games will be one of the few times Sadie won’t have the Wrestling Watkins patriarch, dad Doug, in her corner coaching.
“He’s coming to the games to watch me, but I don’t think he will be in my corner when I am wrestling,” Sadie said.
“It will be different because my dad has been coaching me for as long as I can remember.”
The man who will be in her corner, Big Country coach Vern McNeice said Watkins has all the family tools to do well in Banff.
“Sadie has such a good wrestling base to draw from, she has such a good feel for the sport,” McNeice said. “I was really happy to see her come to the tryouts.”
She should see plenty of action in Banff.
Doug Watkins said one of the highlights of Winter Games is the wrestlers compete as team and then move onto a smaller tournament to determine the individual medal winners — which means Sadie could wrestle at least six times.
However, the experience goes beyond wrestling, according to Doug.
“I know Spencer and Reid still have friends that they met at Alberta Winter Games,” Watkins said. “Plus, they get to meet all the athletes in the other sports.”
Sadie said she is excited to be going to the games and despite the family lineage she isn’t going in overconfident.
“I would like to finish in the top four or get a medal,” Sadie said. “I am just going to train and push myself really hard this week because I am kind of doubting myself… But my family tells me I should kick butt.”
As for future Winter Games, Doug and his wife Nicole might not want to start taking winter vacations quite yet.
Sadie’s younger brother Cael also has the Watkins passion for the sport.
The Alberta Winter Games are Feb. 6-9 in Banff/Canmore with the wrestling taking place at the Sally Borden Building in Banff on Friday and Saturday.
For more information go to www.awg2014.ca