Christ the King, Ross River pin wrestling titles

A string of six consecutive wins for Holy Family Elementary came to an end at the YSAA Elementary Wrestling Championship at the Canada Games Centre on Thursday.

A string of six consecutive wins for Holy Family Elementary came to an end at the YSAA Elementary Wrestling Championship at the Canada Games Centre on Thursday.

Whitehorse’s Christ the King won the Team Champion aggregate division for the first time, capturing 41 medals, including 18 gold.

Christ the King, which placed second last year, brought the largest team to the championship with 69 wrestlers – the most the school has every brought to the event.

“We have quite a few returning wrestlers coming back and they’ve been improving every year,” said Christ the King coach Ron Billingsley. “They really earned it. This has been happening for the last few years, we’ve been building up to this.

“It’s a short season. Wrestling is only a few weeks long, so we don’t have much time to prepare. So I’m really proud of everyone.”

Holy Family, which has won the division every year since 2007, had 61 wrestlers representing the school and won a total of 34 medals.

RELATED:See full results here.

“Christ the King beat us out this year, fair and square,” said Holy Family coach Ted Hupe. “They came in with a big team and the statistical odds were in their favour. We had the biggest team over the last few years. We knew, when they came in with a big team, we were in for a big fight.”

Golden Horn Elementary School took third, with 32 wrestlers collecting 18 medals.

“As a school, everyone was there to support each other throughout the practices, throughout the tournament,” added Billingsley. “They were all really encouraging. That’s the great thing about the trophy: they won it as a team.”

Ross River School regained the title of Best Performing Team at the championship.

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Seven wrestlers represented Ross River, up from four in 2011 when the school last captured the title.

“It was a bit of a rebuilding year, so I didn’t think we would win,” said Ross River coach Brian Larnder. “We have a lot of newer students and some of our older students who were champions in the past have gone on to high school. It was a younger group, I didn’t know how they’d do, but they won enough matches I guess.”

In the Best Performing division, points are awarded to teams for finishes between first and fifth. Those points are then divided by the amount of wrestlers on the team.

Ross River won by the tiny margin of 0.08 percent.

Elijah Smith Elementary placed second with 36 wrestlers. Teslin School, a first-time entry, placed third with eight wrestlers competing.

Ross River won three bronze medals for the school’s best finishes. Matthew Tuffs won bronze in 38-kilogram boys, Tiyone Peter won bronze in 34-kilogram girls and Daniel Smith took bronze in 43-kilogram boys.

Teammates Jeremiah Shorty, Quaid Tom and Trent Smith finished fourth in their respective weight classes.

The Ross River School takes out the wrestling mats at the start of the year in January, said Larnder, earlier than most schools.

“We have a good group of kids, and we don’t have a lot of other sports because we’re quite a small school,” said Larnder. “We don’t have enough for hockey or soccer. So wrestling is kind of our main focus for sporting. All the best athletes at the school, that’s what they excel at.”

After 25 registered athletes scratched, a total of 395 wrestlers competed in about 1,100 bouts at the championships.

A record 16 schools were represented with newcomers Teslin School and Yukon Montessori School competing.

“We have now probably 20 percent of all Yukon kids wrestling, which is unheard of in the rest of Canada,” said Hupe, who organizes the championship. “Mind you, we’re a small jurisdiction, but to have 20 per cent of a group of kids doing one sport is phenomenal.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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