Claremont wrestler leads the way at provincials

Nationals come next as high school season ends for wrestlers

Nolan Mitchell of Claremont throws Jarred Beckett of Alberni District secondary during an Island meet earlier this year.

When his season didn’t start well, Nolan Mitchell contemplated his future in wrestling.

But the 15-year-old and defending provincial champion didn’t quit. He just kept working, and on Saturday Mitchell won gold in the 45-kilogram class of the B.C. high school wrestling championships, held at Duncan’s Island Savings Centre.

“It was a big win and came with a big adrenaline rush. I like seeing that I can get better and I can continue,” he said.

It’s the second straight year he’s won gold at provincials as the only wrestler out of Claremont secondary school, though he actually trains with the Cowichan Wrestling Club.

It’s also the second straight year Mitchell defeated Justin Cacatian in the final, and was a moment of retribution, as it was Cacatian who knocked Mitchell out at SFU’s War on the Floor in the fall.

“It wasn’t a dominant win or anything but it was nice to get (Cacatian) back after he beat me this (at War on the Floor).”

In four fights Mitchell won by pin, then by technical superiority (leading by six points) in each of his next three, never needing a third round.

About a dozen Greater Victoria wrestlers in all competed at provincials.

Esquimalt’s Carlton Cochran (fifth) and Erin Geddie (sixth) and Reynolds’ Paul Aquino (fifth) placed in the top six of their respective weight classes. It’s a solid finish for Cochran, a Grade 10 and rookie to the sport.

Two more wrestlers from the Victoria Bulldogs district team nearly placed (top-6).

Oak Bay High’s John Fayad pinned his second opponent but was knocked out in his third match. Stelly’s Donovan Huynh went 2-2, losing his fourth match by a point.

“It’s exhausting to see one of your wrestler’s lose by a point, it just drains you,” said Huynh’s coach, Ed Ashmore.

“But you gotta recover because you gotta get your kid recovered.”

Mitchell is currently in fundraising mode seeking sponsorship to build on his national bronze medal when he attends the Canadian championships in Saskatoon next month.

Fayad is also planning on attending.

sports@vicnews.com