Steinhoff captures gold, ’Stangs secure silver

Five individuals medal at Brock Invitational as team prepares for meet at Queen's next week

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustang Sam Stewart

Courtesy of Ray Takahashi

"IF YOU THINK MY HEADLOCK IS IMPRESSIVE, YOU SHOULD SEE MY FLYING CLOTHESLINE ..." Top rookie Mustang Sam Stewart attempts to throw Jasmine Mian of Brock with a reverse grip head-and-arm throw.

The Western women’s wrestling team had an impressive showing this past weekend at the Brock Invitational, setting the tone for what promises to be an aggressive run at the provincial title.

Earning the silver medal just seven points behind the host Badgers, last year’s Ontario University Athletics champions, this Mustangs squad screams potential.

Western collected a pile of individual hardware including a gold medal from Kirby Steinhoff in the 72 kg division and silver medals from Lindsay Oldham (48 kg), Sam Stewart (51 kg), Liz Sera (59 kg) and Jessica Belchos (82 kg).

Coach Scott Proctor commented on last weekend’s success.

“We have a hardworking team this season and a lot of athletes have performed well,” he said.

“This was the first tournament in over a month and a half for most of them so it was a good opportunity for us to get back on the mats and get some good competition.”

Proctor acknowledged that hard work will play a key role as his athletes prepare for upcoming competitions and the inevitable challenges that lie ahead.

“We have five weeks before the OUA championships so now is the time that team members can start focusing in on their specific needs and the coaching staff can work a little more individually with athletes on the areas they need to improve upon,” he said.

Ben Spitzke

Rookie Sam Stewart has been a dominant force this season, medaling in a number of meets thus far.

“Team goals are definitely to win the title at OUA’s,” Stewart confirmed.

“My personal goals are to medal at provincials and nationals.”

Stewart remains focused on her intense conditioning schedule in order to maximize her potential and further her success.

“I’ve been training hard up until now of course but I’ve picked it up a notch, adding two extra cardio workouts per week and three extra weight-training sessions,” she said.

With no shortage of energy, Stewart described her motivation for seeking out the obvious physical challenges posed by her sport of choice.

“I love the competitions; going out there and battling your opponent in speed, technique, strength and wits.”

Stewart’s fellow silver medalist, veteran Jessica Belchos, discussed the many benefits of achieving success early in the season.

“For a lot of us, it has only been a week of training before this tournament and most of us did some really great things and had some awesome matches. It can only get better,” she said.

Sophmore student and veteran wrestler Liz Sera agreed.

“The silver medal was a great confidence booster for the team, especially as the OUA championships get closer,” she said.

After sitting last season out due to injury, Belchos discussed her ‘comeback tournament.’

Jessica Belchos

“I had a fairly good tournament. I hadn’t wrestled for a year and a half due to injury and to come back and do pretty well is good for me and the team.”

Proctor keeps an open mind with regard to the possibility this season has to offer.

“There is still a lot time for our wrestlers to improve and some of them are just now starting to get in ‘competition shape’ and are starting to wrestle well.”

Looking ahead, Proctor discussed the approach his athletes will take to their upcoming tournament at Queen’s.

“We will use this tournament as another building block leading up to the OUA championships. It will give our wrestlers a chance to continue to work on the things we have been concentrating on in practice and will provide us with another opportunity to evaluate team members and identify areas in their wrestling that they need to work on. We try to continue to improve from tournament to tournament.”

Proctor is confident that with hard work and dedication, OUA success is definitely in the cards for this skilled roster of athletes.

“If we continue to train hard, stay healthy and field a full team we [will be] able to compete with any of the teams in the province.”

In terms of training, Belchos knows what the next week has in store.

“Lots of tough practices. Our coaches really know how to work us.”

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