Story: Back in the spring five local wrestlers qualified to participate in the 2012 B.C. Summer Games, but due to a range of circumstances, only Connor White and Braiden MacDougall ended up competing and representing Fort St. John.
Both travelled to Surrey July 19 to 22 for the Summer Games where MacDougall placed fifth in the 70 kg category and White finished second in the 78 kg category, bringing home a silver medal.
There were ups and downs for both during the trip, from sleeping in sweltering classrooms to watching the entertaining opening and closing ceremonies, but both said they had a great experience to remember
“It was pretty cool,” White said on Thursday. “They paid for our plane tickets and we didn’t have to go through security or anything. The travelling was good.”
White had six people in his weight category and blazed through two of them to get to the finals.
“The first guy was pretty easy,” White said. “I beat him 7-1 and pinned him on the first round. The second guy was from Zone 7 I think. He was pretty tough. I beat him 3-1 the first round and 2-0 the second round.”
“The toughest was the finals because the guy was a national champion. I got torn up,” he added, laughing. “I didn’t want to just give him a medal so I still made him work for it.”
Although MacDougall didn’t place as high as he would’ve liked, he still sees the positives in the experience.
“I had a bad draw,” he explained. “My first match was against the provincial champ and he destroyed everybody that entire tournament. Not a single person scored on him. Then I went against someone who had as much skill as I did and we battled it out. Last second I threw him then I got re-rolled so by one point I lost that match.”
“I could hear [Connor] screaming during my second match because of how close it was. I was kind of disappointed, but it happens. I had a great time down there. It was a good experience considering I could be doing a lot more with my training.”
White on the other hand had been going above and beyond in his training leading up to the Summer Games. He was at the gym five days a week, twice with a personal trainer and the other three times with his wrestling coaches.
His plans for the silver medal are to hang them off a set of antlers.
“[My parents] are really excited,” White said. “My mom and dad were really proud and my grandma and grandpa were really excited about it.”
Both young athletes would like to pursue wrestling after high school, especially White who hopes to go to a Vancouver school like Simon Fraser University, while MacDougall is taking things one step of time, knowing that life can throw you curve balls.
For now the boys are back to practicing every Thursday with their teammates and coaches Paul Kalas and Candace Fouillard and are looking forward to when the wrestling season starts back up again this fall.
They would like to thank their coaches and family for their support.