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By Chris Marchand
Luck, or bad luck had little to do with the outcomes on the mat for 180 wrestlers from Dryden and beyond this past Friday the 13th.
Dryden High School Eagles Wrestling Team hosted its third annual regional tournament, a gathering that is growing in popularity as a place for Winnipeg and Thunder Bay teams to ‘meet in the middle’.
“Every year we’ve hosted this tournament it’s just gotten bigger,” says DHS Wrestling Coach Mike Hill. “We’ve had a lot more attention from the other teams. They’re really enjoying coming and participating in Dryden — we’re kind of the hub around here. In the past Thunder Bay teams have always travelled to Winnipeg and vice-versa, now we’re right smack dab in the middle.”
Hill says the state of the sport of wrestling is fairly strong in Dryden at the moment with a 15-member high school squad, co-coached with Richard Walsh, that seems to be coming into its own in its 13th season. Harry Curtis coaches another 20-member squad of local elementary aged competitors, who Hill says is an important development system that will help DHS form competitive teams in the future.
“We have a number of kids who are wrestling at a high level,” said Hill. “In the past we’ve been fortunate enough to take as many as 10 wrestlers to OFSAA (championships). It’s shaping up to be like that this season as well with a number of returning seniors who are in contention to return to OFSAA this year.”
Along with some OFSAA hopefuls from the junior ranks (Grade 9-10), Hill adds that three DHS Wrestlers will attend Ontario Winter Games in March.
Hill adds that a regional rivalry is developing as Kenora’s Beaver Brae Secondary has recently started a team, appearing at last week’s event.