Claire Lizotte, Liam Crockett and Andrea Pretty have all won the chance to attend a national competition in Saskatchewan this April. They are looking to the community to get them there.
Three South Carleton athletes stand a fighting chance to become national champions this April - but only with the community’s support.
Liam Crockett, Claire Lizotte and Andrea Pretty, all Grade 10 students at South Carleton High School, are top wrestlers in their age and weight classes. On top of going to OFSAA this March, in February they won provincial gold and silver medals and a chance to attend the Juvenile/Cadet National Wrestling Championship in Saskatoon this April.
But without sponsors and funding there’s little way to get them there.
Claire’s mother Janice Lizotte said it will cost about $6,000 to get the three wrestlers to the tournament. While the families will do their best to find the money, the non-profit National Capital Wrestling Club the wrestlers represent can’t offer much support.
“This year, the expenses involved are greater given the location in Saskatoon which is quite expensive in terms of travel costs from Ottawa,” said club president Dean Sherratt in a letter to potential sponsors. In the end, it will come down to community and business sponsors to get the athletes in the ring April 4 to 7.
“Any financial assistance provided to these outstanding men and women will be greatly appreciated and publicly acknowledged by the club,” Sherratt said.
Lizotte said supporting the wrestlers also supports the club, which has been a great resource for the three wrestlers.
“It’s just run by people who love the sport, and it rubs off on the kids,” Lizotte said. “They get that dedication, too.”
The trio has been unfailingly successful this season. While it’s technically an individual sport - one wrestler taking down another - the support team they’ve found at the National Capital Wrestling Club they all joined this season has been a huge boost, Claire said - especially in the wake of Bill 115 and extra-curricular cuts at school.
“The club is a lot like a family,” she said. “We’re all friends and we’re really supportive of each other.”
Andrea and Claire have been wrestling since the fall of Grade 9, while Liam only started several months ago. And yet they’re already going to national competitions, placing in the top 10 in OFFSA matches and bringing home gold and silver medals.
This spring, their hope is to just get a chance to show Canada what they’ve got.
“My goal is to do my best and give 120 per cent,” Claire said. “That way if I lose I’ll still be happy knowing I did everything I could to win and then if I actually do win it will be that much better.”
The competition will be tough - much tougher than OFFSA - but worth the experience to wrestle with other athletes of their calibre.
“The competition will be much more difficult because everyone has deserved to qualify and they’re all really dedicated,” Claire added.
Even if they don’t make it onto the podium, Liam said the team will still consider the trip a success.
“Even if you had a bad match everyone would still tell (say) you did a good job,” Liam said. “People at the club are great supporters and motivators.”
While the athletes are just getting started in their wrestling careers, all three of them said they were upset to hear that wrestling will likely be taken out of the Olympic Games in 2020.
The 2020 Summer Olympics would have been their peak year for competing in the Olympics if they chose to pursue that path, Andrea said.
“I hadn’t really thought about Olympics yet,” Andrea said, adding that their collective goal is to make it to the Pan Am Games in 2015. Those games will be held in Toronto, which is much more accessible than Saskatoon or an international destination.
To sponsor the team or donate to their trip, contact email@example.com.