Josh Dyke taking on a New Brunswick wrestler in the Canada Summer Games.
SHESHATSHIU - Aaron Pater of Sheshatshiu didn’t bring home a medal from the Canada Summer Games but the 17-year-old said he enjoyed being part of this province’s wrestling team.
“Everything went fine in Winnipeg. It was a bit overwhelming. The competition size was a little larger than I thought it would be. But the experience was nice,” he said.
Aaron started wrestling two years ago. He works out at the local community centre with other wrestlers, he said.
A recent high school graduate, Aaron is hoping to get accepted into Lakehead University in Ontario where he’ll continue to study and wrestle.
Peter Petipas was one of the province’s four wrestling coaches at the Games which took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba July 28-Aug. 13. Petipas said Josh Dyke, 17, is the other wrestler from Sheshatshiu who made the provincial team.
Aaron and Josh do very well at provincial school competitions, Petipas said.
Both wrestlers were up against tough opponents in Winnipeg, he said, with Josh facing the competitor who went on to win the silver medal.
“Overall they did pretty good. They could have done a bit better but that comes back to experience and getting out to compete in more competitions,” Petipas said.
Both teens were very sportsmanlike during all their matches, Petipas said, and reached out to an injured wrestler from another team.
“Both Aaron and Josh made friends with people in other provinces. We are trying to organize something now with the wrestling team in Nunavut to see if we can get them to Sheshatshiu or get our wrestlers to Nunavut,” Petipas said.
This year’s Canada Summer Games marked the 50th anniversary of the Games with nearly 400 athletes, volunteer coaches, managers and mission staff representing Newfoundland and Labrador.
The games are held every two years, alternating summer and winter. The province hosted the 1977 Canada Summer Games in St. John's and the 1999 Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook. The Summer Games will return to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2021.
Newfoundland and Labrador's Angel Hiltz-Morell brought won a silver medal in the women’s wrestling 84-kilogram division at the Games in Winnipeg.
The 15-year-old is coached by Noel Strapp and wrestles with the Roncalli High School Wrestling Club in her home town of Avondale.
Prior to the 2017 Canada Games, Angel – who is also a member of the provincial rugby team - won the gold medal in every wrestling competition she entered over the last three seasons.
In a press release about the Games, Children, Seniors and Social Development Lisa Dempster said the Canada Games is a unique opportunity for athletes from this province to participate in a national multi-sport games, to showcase their athletic abilities and compete against athletes from other provinces and territories in high level competition.
Dempster, who is also MHA for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair, said Team Newfoundland and Labrador performed well during the Games with a number of athletes achieving personal bests in their sport.
The athletes not only competed but established friendships and memories that will likely last a lifetime, Dempster said.
“The athletes were great ambassadors for the province and have likely been inspired to maintain the values of healthy active living that are inherent in sport participation as they move on to the next stages of their sporting lives,” Dempster said.
Wrestling enthusiasts in this province are currently looking to establish teams in Nain and Natuashish.
“We’re trying to get mats up to Nain now for the fall and once we get them there, we are going to try for Natuashish,” Petipas said.