Wrestlers from Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay made history this month by competing at provincials in Port Alberni.
It was the first time a wrestling team from Haida Gwaii has ever competed in the B.C.-wide tournament.
Coach Joshua Smith, a constable with the Masset RCMP’s First Nations policing program, said the two-day tournament was a real eye-opener for the eight GTN wrestlers, none of whom had ever competed at that level before — over 500 top high school wrestlers joined the tournament.
“None of them gave up during a match, even when paired against the province’s best wrestler in their weight class,” said Cst. Smith in a press release.
The wrestlers also won several matches.
Competing for GTN were Sheldon Smith, Fernando Cuervas-Mons, Damek Racette, Cameron Holland, Braydon Bjur, Domanic White, Devon Bjur, and Jeremy Drager.
Drager wrestled to a top eight placing in the 110 kg weight class, and Cuervas-Mons placed top 12 in the 60 kg division.
Smith said another highlight was when Haida athletes on the team met the B.C. manager and coach for the National Indigenous Games — they are now working to make the B.C. team for the next games in 2020.
Along with Const. Smith, teacher Zoe Sikora travelled with the team to Port Alberni. The GTN wrestling team would also like to the many supporters who made the trip to provincials possible, including the Masset RCMP First Nations policing program, the Haida Gwaii School District, the Masset Haida Lions Club, Old Massett Social Development, the Gwaii Trust Society, and Joanne Young.