Volume 96, Issue 61
Friday, January 17, 2003

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From the top rope

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

Niru Somayajula/Gazette
SUPERFLY JIMMY SNOOKA HAS GOT NUTHIN' ON THESE TWO. Mustangs wrestlers Sarah Gil (right) and Terri McNutt (left) size each other up just before Paul Bearer interfered with a steel chair.

Say no and she'll tell you where to go.

Western Mustangs wrestler Sarah Gil, one of the premier wrestlers in Canada, encountered a closed door and busted it down when she entered the ruthless sport.

"It's kind of a funny story," Gil explained. "The wrestling coach at my high school in Kingston told us that women weren't allowed on the team. We went out and started our own club and enjoyed the sport so much that we stayed with it afterward."

Likewise, fellow wrestler Terri McNutt, another high-calibre cog in Western coach Ray Takahashi's crew, overcame a closed door of a different sort – her petite physique.

Ferocious as a pitbull and capable of launching opposing wrestlers to the ground and leaving them in tatters, McNutt has used her 5'4" frame to its maximum potential, but said she still receives the bewildered look from people when she shares the information that she kicks ass on the mat.

McNutt and Gil's paths are interwoven – they have travelled virtually the same road down the path to their wrestling success.

Both grew up in Kingston and fell in love with wrestling during their high school years (McNutt at Regi Notre Dame and Gil at Holy Cross). Maybe it was sending escapees from the Kingston Penitentiary back to solitary or maybe it was knocking ignorant coaches on their asses, but both have worked extremely hard and results have followed suit.

Most recently, Gil carried home the gold medal in the 65 kilogram weight class, while McNutt snagged the silver medal in the 53 kilogram weight class at the Queen's Open. Furthermore, McNutt is ranked second nationally in her weight class.

However, before embarking on their odyssey at Western, the two wrestlers participated in the Kingston Wrestling Club. The friendship they formed at the club has flourished in London, where they have become roommates.

Takahashi, a revered wrestler in his own right, explained that McNutt is extremely adept at throws, while Gil is a fierce workhorse, which can be seen in the energy she puts into practice.

Deep in Alumni Hall, the wrestling team practices their throws, pins and, on occasion, their figure-four leg locks, while Takahashi periodically shouts out technical jargon. In light of Takahashi's fourth-place finish in the 1984 Olympics, the squad listens.

"Ray is really technical, more so than my high school coaches who were more about endurance," Gil said. "He is also a great self-motivator – he wants you to do it for yourself as opposed to doing it for him."

The two wrestlers have done that and more – leaving opponents in disarray on the mat after an old fashioned ass whoopin'. McNutt even cracked an opponent's sternum in her high school days.

On the other hand, McNutt is pursuing a career that seems extremely contradictory for a certified "tough girl" – she's a second-year nursing student.

Patients beware: if you piss her off, you're not only dealing with a woman who could pin you on the ground and make you scream bloody murder, but you might have to deal with her friend too.

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