By Todd Colin Vaughn
Courtesy of the Sylvan Lake News
Notre Dame High School Grade 11 student Drew Perrson took another step towards the 2020 Olympic Games when she won a silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the Juvenile Canadian National Wrestling Championships in Ontario.
“We left earlier than we needed in order to be ready,” she said. “On Friday we weighed in, and I made weight. Saturday, we got to wrestle. I had two matches that day.”
Despite the matches being closely contested affairs, Perrson would come out on the wrong side in her freestyle wrestling matches.
“They were both really good matches – I lost both of them – but they were pretty close,” she said. “They were very back and forth. I was ahead on the first one and then she got ahead. She pinned me after that. It was the same thing for the second match so I didn’t get to podium in that.”
Perrson had zero time to dwell on the freestyle matches, as Sunday would be a day of Greco-Roman – a wrestling style that Perrson is very new to.
“Sunday was the Greco-Roman day and I came home with a silver medal in that,” she said. “I have never really done Greco before, so that was my first real experience with that. It is all upper body and throws; I won my first two matches and then lost the gold medal match. It was cool to experience a different style of wrestling.”
Being able to take home a medal from nationals was not the only bonus for Perrson.
“It was a really good experience getting to go out and wrestle in Ontario,” she said. “It was great having the trip paid for by everyone who donated, and all the sponsors. It was a lot of fun.”
Perrson, after winning the Provincial Freestyle Championship, saw what is needed to compete at the national level.
“Mostly the mental side is where I struggled,” she said. “I put a lot of time into the physical training but I need to focus on what worked for me at provincials when I won that. After losing in freestyle, it helped me realize what had worked at provincials. I need to keep on adding onto the mental aspect and working on whatever problems come up.”
Perrson, who trains five to seven days per week, is looking to diversify her training program in order to continue to develop towards her ultimate goals.
“I plan to go to other clubs to get more experience and more exposure,” she said. “I am now working on getting my strength and fitness levels up to the national levels of the Olympic team. There is a gym in Calgary that is going to work with us and develop a program for me. Hopefully we will get my levels up to the national level in my Grade 12 year, so I can step right up onto the university team. That will get me ready for the trials to compete at the Olympics.”
Perrson is grateful for all of the support she has received throughout Central Alberta.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I had a fundraising goal and we raised almost twice as much as that. I’ve received so many emails, texts and phone calls wishing me good luck – even from people I don’t even know. Their support has been there for me, whether I came home with a freestyle medal or not.”
Perrson is continuing her summer training schedule.
“This weekend I have the first stage of the Canada Summer Games trials, which selects two athletes,” she explained. “At the end of May I have the second stage, which chooses the top athlete and the alternate athlete. They are in Winnipeg in August and the Canada Summer Games is part of the Olympic process.”