Grappler hopes to weigh in at nationals

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A wrestler who has travelled the world thanks to his sport is looking forward to a trip this weekend that is not quite as exotic as Italy.

Josh Skory will head to Edmonton for the CanWest University wrestling championships — a meet the former age-group national champion has not ever been in.

The 19-year-old Skory was injured for the meet last season.

“Last year was a major growing year for me,” said the 54kg-Skory said of his first year with the U of C Dinos. “By January of 2017 I was starting to beat some really good guys, but by the time CanWest came around, I was injured.”

The Cayley area native was a three-time provincial high school wrestling champion with the Highwood Mustangs before making the jump to university last year.

“I have undergone a lot of growing wrestling-wise since high school,” Skory said. “I have gotten faster, stronger and a lot smarter.

“I have had some international experience — I was able to win a meet in Italy and then I went straight to Japan. All that happened last summer, I’ve been pretty busy.”

Dinos coach Mitch Ostberg said he expects Skory to finish in the top three in Edmonton to qualify for U Sports championships on Feb. 23 in Sault Ste. Marie, ONT.

“He is performing well and he will be very competitive at 54,” Ostberg said. “I do expect him to do that, but he is in a tough weight class.

“He has really taken the bull by the horns and done the training and the preparation to wrestle at this level.”

He’s made substantial gains in his second-year of wrestling.

“He is pretty tenacious, attacks and pursues people pretty aggressively,” Ostberg said. “When he is in attack mode, he is quite successful.”

Like many wrestlers who dominated at the high school level, Skory’s defence needed work in university.

“When you are on offence the whole time and then you step up to the adult level, you are meeting someone much more your equal,” Ostberg said. “Josh has a great work ethic and I expect him to have success at the university level.”

He is going into CanWest on a strong note, he was third in a meet in the Fraser Valley on Jan. 27.

He would love to expand his international experience by competing in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris for Canada.

He’s got to put on some weight. At present the lowest weight class is 57kg at the Olympics.

“I would have to put on good weight and some muscle,” Skory said. “Right now, 2020 is a bit of a stretch, but 2024 is something I could realistically strive for.”

He’s got another goal — to help young people strive for their goals on the mat.

Skory remembers the help he got from Foothills area wrestling coaches like Bill Young, Doug Watkins, Mark Barnert, Derek Markides and others while growing up.

He helped run a camp at the Cargill Fieldhouse in High River for elementary and junior high school students in the Foothills area from November to January. He plans to get back to it after his final exams. “When I am done school in May, I am going to run a few clinics just to let kids know that wrestling is still a viable option if you have the desire to wrestle,” he said.

Even if you aren’t the biggest person in the world.

“Wrestling is a sport where smaller people can really dominate,” Skory said with a chuckle.

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