Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Morris Prokop

PELLY PATROL – The boys from Pelly hang out with a couple of new chums. Left to right: Nicolas Shorty, Toosis Abel-Chitze, Keelan Sawyer, coach Dave Gillis and Tyson Simon Joe.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

ALLEY OOP – Lia Hinchey, left, attempts to throw Liam Gishler during a judo demonstration.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

GREAT GRAPPLING – Toosis Abel-Chitze (on top in black) and Zachary Duchaine from CSSC Mercier have a good grapple.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

TRYING A TAKEDOWN – Nicolas Shorty, centre, tries to take down Noah Lapierre while head coach Jason Basnett watches.

First high school wrestling event in 20 years a big success

The first high school wrestling event in 20 years in Whitehorse was a big success.

By Morris Prokop on November 28, 2022

The first high school wrestling event in 20 years in Whitehorse was a big success.

The “Fall Brawl” took place at CSSC Mercier school on Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m.

It was organized by the Yukon Schools Athletic Association and Grapple Yukon, a new wrestling organization.

Toosis Abel-Chitze, 13, from Pelly Crossing took part in the wrestling and got taken down hard by one opponent.

“I got slammed pretty good but I still got up,” he stated.

Despite the hard fall, Chitze enjoyed the event.

“It was good.”

Kaleb Parry, 16, of F.H. Collins, was also there to wrestle.

“It was pretty interesting. Got to wrestle a few people. It was a lot of fun. I haven’t wrestled – it’s hard wrestling recently and it was nice to get out here and wrestle against a few more people.”

“I’ve done some of the elementary school tournaments back when but not recently. I just started again recently … I’m trying out for the Arctic Games team and if I make that … that’d be pretty sweet.”

Of his last match, Parry said “It was hard. It was sweaty. We were both in jeans … but it was pretty fun.”

Noah Lapierre, 13, from Mercier and Nicholas Shorty, 14, from Pelly took part in the last bout of the day.

Shorty said “I wanted to see how good everyone is and …”

“Wanted to see girls!” Chitze interjected.

“… and see girls. I just wanted to have fun, too. It was really fun,” finished Shorty.

Grapple Yukon assistant coach Dave Gillis came with four boys, including Chitze and Shorty.

“I brought four athletes from Pelly from Eliza Van Bibber School. We were supposed to have a lot more but stomach flu going around – but the guys who showed up, they’ve been coming to practice for months now.

The other boys with Gillis were Tyson Simon Joe and Keelan Sawyer.

“We started last year, so this is our first actual competition against other teams, so it was just rippin’ the Band-Aid off and maybe having them a chance to see the sport, actually compete against somebody else instead of people they train against consistently,” related Gillis.

“I’m really proud of Nic, Toosis, Keelan and Tyson. They came from Pelly, they showed up early this morning, great group of athletes.

Gillis said the afternoon went well.

“This is the first time wrestling against people who aren’t their friends, so getting over those nerves and just seeing what the sport’s all about.”

The event also included a judo demonstration.

Lia Hinchey took part in it.

“We have a very strong club,” she said. “We’re trying to get more athletes to join.”

Hinchey enjoys both wrestling and judo.

“It’s been really fun. I’ve been doing judo a lot longer. We travel a lot for judo and go to lots of tournaments and starting to do that for wrestling as well.”

Hinchey is going into the Arctic Winter Games in wrestling and the Canada Winter Games in judo.

She said she’s looking forward to the Games.

“I think it will be really fun.”

Hinchey added, “We have a really good group of kids and we need more people in wrestling and judo.”

Jason Basnett, head coach for Grapple Yukon, also said the afternoon went great.

“It went fantastic. We had to be kind of fluid in our expectations because there’s so many kids sick at all the schools right now, so we didn’t have as many show up as we thought we would. But I think it worked really well. We got a bunch of training in. People tried some new stuff. We got kids from Pelly wrestling with kids from Whitehorse, met some new friends.

“We’re looking to make Arctic Winter Games team, Indigenous Games team, as well as for other teams in the future, so getting all these kids together to meet each other, this is kind of the start of a beautiful thing, hopefully.”

“We had the judo kids come out and do some excellent demos of judo. Liam Gishler did the judo demo along with Hinchey.

“They’re both longtime judo athletes, as well as wrestling and have been training forever,” said Basnett. “They’re going to the Canada Winter Games for judo. And they’re going to go to Arctic Winter Games for wrestling. Don’t tell them because they’ll get fat heads, but they’re kind of our superstars right now … they’re pretty good.”

“I’m really pleased with how it went, really happy that the Pelly guys got down here,” he said.

“We got lots of kids out and they showed some pretty good spirit, some good wrestling.”

“Our trials are in Pelly Dec. 10. People have to register online before the trials … so we know they’re coming, and then we form the Arctic Winter Games team.

“Other kids or other people, if they want to wrestle, or want to do judo, we’re always training. So come on out. And if you’re too old for Arctics, that’s OK, there’s other Games … we’ll get to Nationals and stuff,” Basnett added.

For those interested in wrestling in the Arctic Winter Games or just coming to check it out, Grapple Yukon practices take place Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Yukon Regional Training Centre at 123 Copper Road in Whitehorse.

“Once we have the trials and decide the team, then we’re going to be practicing more often and then the Games are (the) end of January,” added Basnett.

Comments (2)

Up 1 Down 1

Khalil sghaier on Dec 1, 2022 at 6:33 am

I’m coming new in Canada. I’m in the wrestling sport. I started in 1990 and in year 2004 I’m the number 3 in the country of Tunisia .I want know if possible to return here in Canada to my favourite sport?
Thank you

Up 5 Down 0

Chris Crooks on Nov 29, 2022 at 1:01 pm

Excellent to see wrestling competitions taking place in the North. Continue the hard work athletes and coaches.

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