Make it back-to-back national championships for Hannah Tuplin.
The Grade 10 wrestler from Chemainus won her second straight Canadian title in the cadet girls 49kg division at the national championship meet in Calgary last weekend.
And if that wasn’t enough, she also qualified to represent Canada at the Pan American championships.
“She’s been training hard all year, but the last seven weeks, she’s been pushing super hard,” Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club head coach Nick Zuback said. “She wrestled like a college or university wrestler.”
The national championships were held on the first day of competition in Calgary, with the trials for the world and Pan Am championships the following day.
For Tuplin, winning gold at nationals provided not just a sense of accomplishment, but also one of vindication
“It felt pretty relieving since I had cut down [in weight] just to wrestle one particular girl, and I had to at least get top three in order to do that,” she explained.
Tuplin didn’t end up beating that particular wrestler, but took lessons from that match regardless.
“I lost again,” she said. “But I feel like I had her on her toes through the whole match and every time I lose I better myself. Like a coach from the Mainland said, you don’t lose — you learn.”
The match for the gold medal went much better for Tuplin, who won 10-0 with a pin, although it the match was a little closer than it sounds.
“Right before I pinned her, she had almost gotten around for two points until I caught her arm and popped her over for the pin,” Tuplin said.
Last year’s national championship showed that Tuplin is among the best wrestlers in Canada, and this year’s title proved that she is someone to watch.
“It shows she’s the real deal,” Zuback said. “There were university coaches from all across Canada scouting out the next kids, and a number of coaches talked to her. The talent is there. She will definitely be sought after for the next couple of years.”
At the international qualifiers the next day, Tuplin won three of four matches, with her only loss coming against the national juvenile champion, who happened to be only wrestler Tuplin lost to at the provincial championships
“It was very close,” Zuback said. “It came down to the last second. If there was any more time on the clock, I guarantee she would have won.”
The winner of that competition qualified to represent Canada at the world championships in Russia this summer, while the runner-up earned a spot at the Pan Ams in Lima, Peru.
“It’s a pretty exciting moment in my wrestling career,” said Tuplin, whose goal is to finish in the top three in Peru.
Tuplin was one of six CVWC athletes to compete at nationals. Her teammate, Andrea Morris, placed fifth in the 49kg juvenile class at the national championships and fourth at the world championship trials the next day. Khaya McKillop finished fourth in the 65kg cadet girls class at nationals.
Just missing the rankings at nationals were Rayne Hankins, Tony Anderson and Aidan Tuplin.
“They all wrestled very well, but unfortunately they didn’t place in the top six,” Zuback said.
Next up for the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club is the Future Wrestling Stars introductory program for athletes ages four to nine, which will include instruction from many of the national competitors.
The program runs at Queen of Angels School on Monday nights from April 25 to June 13. For information, contact Zuback at nzuback(at)hotmail.com or 250-815-0959