Elphi wrestler secures a spot at nationals

Wrestling

Elphinstone Grade 10 wrestler Scout Stipec is off to the national championships next month in New Brunswick on the strength of a solid finish at the provincial championships.

Even though Scout didn’t medal at the provincial finals, finishing fourth, she did enough to wow the coaches of Team B.C., who offered her a spot on the team.

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At nationals Scout will wrestle as a Cadet (grade 9 and 10 students only).

“It is thought she will do very well, as it is rare to see grade 10s that strong,” said Elphi coach Eric Sullivan. “Scout is really excited to represent the Coast at nationals. She never expected to do as well as she did, but this is just another goal achieved.”

Scout has started training in Vancouver as Team B.C. begins its preparations for the nationals April 10 to 12.

Her brother Percy, who also had a great season, was also invited to begin training with Team B.C, which should prove to be invaluable as he sets his sights on a goal of making nationals next year in Edmonton.

This year was supposed to be a re-building year for Sullivan and the Elphi program. Sullivan took over the reins from Clint Fox who retired as head coach in the off-season. Sullivan saw this year as a chance to work with younger wrestlers and begin building the program to a higher level with the hopes of bringing the school its first provincial championship.

And it appears that Sullivan’s goals have been fast-tracked a bit with the impressive results of Scout, Percy and others.

“I never thought we would get to this level this quickly,” Sullivan said. “We lost lots of good wrestlers due to a number of factors, but these three wrestlers have worked so hard throughout the season and it’s really paying off.”

Sullivan said the team really shifted focus and trained hard just before the Wildcat meet at Burnaby Central in January — Scout and Percy both won bronze medals. Teammate Celeste Evans also had a strong showing in a very competitive field.

The three wrestlers then all competed at the North Shore championships with Celeste and Scout each finishing second in their respective weight classes and Percy also showing well.

After training all season, Celeste could not attend the zone championships, but Scout and Percy represented Elphi and qualified for provincials.

The provincial championships were in Abbotsford Feb. 26 to 28. It was open age class with all wrestlers in grades 8 to 12 separated by weight class only. 

“Percy was in a very difficult field of almost 30 wrestlers from around the province,” Sullivan said. “His second match was his best of the day as he finished off his opponent with a three-quarter Nelson in under one minute. He wrestled well, but did not make it past Friday to move on to the semi-finals. His goal was to qualify for provincials. He not only did this, but won on a provincial setting.”

Scout, however, was the talk of the meet.

“She was an absolute rock. Coach after coach commented how strong she was,” Sullivan said. “Her first match was against the defending provincial champion. She went the full six minutes, and was tied until the last few seconds when her opponent scored with an awkward take down.

“Scout was upset, but she refocused and took her frustrations out on her next opponent, flipping her in an amazing feat of strength straight to a pin in an 18-second victory.”

She then eliminated her next opponent in a strong performance that lasted 38 seconds and then won her next match, which guaranteed her a top six finish.

“On the final day of competition, she started her day against a Carson Graham wrestler she had never beaten and who had given Scout bleeding noses in every match they had fought,” Sullivan said. “This was Scout’s year-long goal — to beat this one wrestler. The match went full time, leaving both wrestlers exhausted, and saw Scout winning on points and advancing to the semifinals.”

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