An Okotoks wrestler was able to avenge one defeat, but wasn’t quite able to link that victory to another provincial title.
Holy Trinity Academy’s Sadie Watkins took home the silver medal at 61kg at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association wrestling championships at Bishop Grandin High School on Saturday.
Watkins downed Crescent Heights Cowboy Deven Goett, the Calgary champion, in the round-robin on Saturday.
Goett had defeated the HTA wrestler at the start of the season.
“I had never beaten her and she had been studying my wrestling all season,” Watkins said. “It is hard when you have lost to someone before – not physically, but mentally.
“I knew I was a better wrestler than her.”
She won by taking small steps against Goett.
“I took little points wherever I could and it got to the point where I was up by two with 30 seconds left,” Watkins said.
Goett shot a desperate single-leg takedown and nearly scored some points as Watkins was precariously close to stepping off the mat.
“I was almost going out-of-bounds but I had a double under-hook on her and was able to turn her in and that put me up 9-2,” Watkins said.
The victory gave Watkins a 4-0 record, putting her up against Rebecca Powell of the Bev Facey Falcons from Sherwood Park in the semifinal.
“I hadn’t wrestled her before and I was exhausted after wrestling Deven,” she said.
The HTA wrestler beat Powell on points, but she spent the final seconds frantically looking at the clock.
“I was only inches away from being pinned,” Watkins said. “I was holding my shoulders just off the mat and I could barely see the seconds clicking down.”
She hung on for the 13-10 victory – putting her up against Kinley Link of Sexsmith for the gold medal.
Link has proved to be Watkins’ Moby Dick, a nemesis that she has not ever beaten.
Watkins has good company.
Link has competed for Canada at the Wrestling Pan Am Games and the Cadet World championships. Link beat Watkins at the rural high school championship gold medal match two weeks prior to the provincial meet.
Okotoks wrestling coach Doug Watkins said he made an error in strategy in their attempt to beat Link.
“I worked too much on defence and not enough on offence,” Doug said. “We expected to meet Kinley in the final. I was coaching to defend against her (Kinley’s) fireman’s but I should have been coaching Sadie to use a low-single (takedown).
“It’s one of those things – Don’t prepare to not lose, but prepare to win. I should have had Sadie be more aggressive.”
Watkins got caught in Link’s bread-and-butter firearm, and was pinned in the opening round to give Link the gold medal.
And if you can’t beat ‘em, maybe you can join ‘em.
Sadie said there is a possibility Link and her could be members of Team Alberta at the 2017 Canada Summer Games later this in Winnipeg.
“We could be training together,” Watkins said.