author: ethan williams | staff writer
Team has hot start to season
The Cougar women’s wrestling team has had a strong season up to this point, and things are just getting started for the crew. It is not even halfway through their season, but the Cougars have posted some pretty impressive results thus far. In terms of U-SPORTS rankings across Canada, multiple U of R wrestlers are near the top in their respective weight categories. Sara Tokarz and Megan Wild currently sit fifth in their weight classes, and Miki Rowbottom and Rachel Evans sit sixth in theirs. Perhaps most impressive, however, is Amber Wiebe, who ranks second in her weight class.
The Carillon caught up with Wiebe to talk about her success, and the success of the team. The third-year Kinesiology student from Morden, Manitoba has been wrestling since she was ten years old, and spoke about how she feels her year has gone.
“I’m having a really good year. As far as my tournaments go, I placed at every one, and I’ve been number one for Canada West.”
As for the team, Wiebe says that there has been one defining quality that has helped them achieve success.
“Definitely attitude. I know coming in my first year compared to this year the overall grit for the team has made a really big difference.”
She also mentioned that while the team is quite young, it isn’t limiting their overall ability to do well.
“We have one or two senior athletes, but most of the girls are first- and second-years. We have individual rankings as well. Between five and ten, depending on how many girls are in the weight class, every single one of those girls is ranked [in the] top seven, and they’re all [in their] first, second, and third years.”
Asked what has led to the positive attitude on the mat, Wiebe admits it’s difficult to determine, but says that it comes down to a common interest.
“I think we just all want the same thing. I came here right reared for wrestling. I chose this place because of wrestling, so that’s where my heart is and that’s where my mind is one-hundred per cent of the time. That’s where a lot of the girls are at, too.”
Wiebe says the coaches of the team, Dan and Leo McGee, have had a lot of influence on this strong team.
“Their entire lives are around wrestling. You go into Dan’s office during the day and he’s sitting there watching wrestling videos from 1982 and he’s pinpointing what to use in practice. They’re just really good at going ‘Alright this is an athlete. No athlete is the same, so what’s going to work for this athlete – their body type, their shape, their size, their weight – is not going to work for this athlete who’s very different.’”
She also says that her teammates are extremely supportive, wrestling is very team driven, even though it appears to be an individual-based sport.
“The team cohesion as the women’s team is one for all and all for one. You have to wrestle hard, but then you have to look at the team points. So if you’re down and the difference between you winning a banner or not is you having to pin this girl or not, that’s a team thing. You want to win for yourself, but you have to put it all in there for the team.”
Wiebe herself wrestles with two different teams: her varsity team, which is the Cougar Women’s group, and a club team after the varsity season concludes in February. She will be staying quite busy with both teams, and highlighted some of the important next stops for the Cougars.
“We’re going to Oregon in January and we have two duals against Oregon and Providence State. Then we have the Bears open the following weekend. Then the second weekend of February is Canada West [Wrestling Championship]. That’s in Edmonton. Then we have a week off, and the following week is U-Sport Nationals.”
For Wiebe, in between these events there will undoubtedly be lots of practice. She detailed her regular practice and conditioning schedule.
“It’s about five to six days on the mat depending if we’re away for the weekends. So that’s evenings from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Then when we’re not away for weekends, we’re up in the gym and we’re training doing cardio and strength training. When we are away for weekends it is slightly less just because of travelling.”
Wiebe has high hopes for herself in the future, including a potential run at the Olympics.
“Well that is the goal. As of now, I’m about third in the ladder, so the goal is Tokyo 2020, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do. So as far as this year I’m hoping to place at nationals, if not be in the finals. I’m not sure who’s going to be there because the weight class has changed. But that is the goal, and if that doesn’t happen it’s just going to be a lot of summer training.”
One upcoming event that she hopes people will come out to is the team’s next duel against Jamestown University. It will be going down at 9 p.m. on Dec. 1 in Gym 1 at the Centre for Kinesiology and Sport on campus. You can find the event on Facebook under the even name “Wrestling Duel: Regina vs. Jamestown” for more information. The season is just getting hot for this team, and this event surely won’t be one to miss.