It would be next to impossible to resurface from the effects of a two year global pandemic and not expect anything to have changed.
When it comes to the SDSSAA Wrestling scene, folks will point to the emergence of the Lively District Secondary School Hawks and, to a lesser extent, the Sudbury Secondary School North Stars as being among the more noteworthy shifts in the landscape.
With the likes of Jordyn Vildis (G - 51kg), Noah Peredes (B - 64 kg) and Kolby McLean (B - 72kg) all winning their weight class and teammates Paige Kennedy (G - 115kg) and Braxton Beaudin (B - 77kg) also reaching the podium, the Hawks topped all of the local schools in capturing "The Boot" in early December.
Although not eligible for the regional banner, both Ecole Secondaire Thériault from Timmins and Elliot Lake Secondary School also fared wuite well at the event, producing six individual champions between them.
Only the Atoms (ELSS) were back when the SDSSAA clan reconvened for their first post-Christmas meet last week at Sudbury Secondary, with many of the same wrestlers rising to the top.
A long-time competitive gymnast and definite multi-sport athlete, Vildis intends to represent LDSS in six different sports in this, her grade 12 year, including some in which she has little to no experience.
"I just started wrestling this year, just for fun; I've never done it in my life," said the 17 year old senior who got the better of both Chloe Goulet (Elliot Lake) and Lili Beauchamp (MMT) to capture her bracket for a second straight time.
"I knew that I was able to do it but I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually be aggressvive in a sport, hands on," Vildis added.
With new coach Kyle Donnelly guiding the troops, the Hawks' squad are developing nicely, tapping into a very natural athletic base in almost every case. "We did a lot of conditioning and weight training in gymnastics, so that really helped," said Vildis.
I still have a lot of strength from doing that."
With only a handful of bouts under her belt, Vildis is proving to be a quick study. "I am trying to actually do the things we are learning in practice," she said. "The first meet, I was just going with the flow and seeing what I can do."
"This time, I tried to do a takedown. I want to do a throw for my next bout. That's my goal for today."
Despite only entering grade 9 at E.S. Macdonald-Cartier last fall, 14 year-old Ryland House can relate to much of what Vildis is saying.
Though he enjoys a background in the martial arts, this is his first foray into wrestling - and despite some similarities, it's clear the two sports are not one and the same.
"I've been doing contact sports since I was young," said House. "Some Korean Martial Arts and more recently, I started with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Korean martial arts is a form of karate, so you're always standing."
"There's no ground work - but in jiu-jitsu, there is. Wrestling is good - I like wrestling."
Finishing second in a field of four athletes in the 83kg class at "The Boot", House is still trying to get the better of Seth Tomassini from Lo-Ellen as they meet once again. Though he's not quite there yet, there is plenty of reason for optimism.
If nothing else, the presence of ESMC head coach Celeste Contant-Rodrigues, a former OFSAA chammpion herself, gives the young man more than good reason for hope. "Her lessons are always upbeat - she's fun," said House.
"She's nice to be around. Her way of teaching is really good; she is always there to help you. Right now, I am lacking strength - and the fluidity ofmy moves has to be better.",/p>
Vildis, House and the remainder of the field are now focused on the upcoming Ron Preston City Championships, set to take place on Thursday, February 9th. Following are condensed results of the first place finishers from both "The Boot" as well as the preliminary meet earlier this month:Girls Divisions
Abigail Bonhomme (MMT) - The Boot
Jordyn Vildis (LIV) - The Boot / SSS Meet
Andrea Pretty (HOR) - The Boot
Tanya Patel (ELSS) - SSS Meet
Marie Laure (ELSS) - The Boot
Grace Beange (SSS) - SSS Meet
Melody Hamilton (BAC) - The Boot
Payton Stos (LDSS) - SSS Meet
Sophie Tchuente (SSS) - The Boot
Sophie Simo (SSS) - SSS Meet
Mackayla Tuck (ELSS) - The Boot
Gabrielle Roy (HOR) - SSS Meet
Paige Kennedy (LDSS) - SSS Meet
Aurora Jongsma (STC) - The Boot
Kaeden Dennie (LAS) - The Boot
Logan Constantin (Champlain) - SSS
Joe Vakareskov (LOE) - The Boot
Cengiz Colgecin (LAS) - The Boot / SSS Meet
Noah Peredes (LDSS) - The Boot / SSS Meet
Taylor Gervais (Theriault) - The Boot
Jeff Tobe (LAS) - SSS
Kolbe McLean (LDSS) - The Boot / SSS Meet
Max Hunt (Theriault) - The Boot
Trent Ryan (ELSS) - SSS Meet
Seth Tomassini (LOE) - The Boot / SSS Meet
Pierot Daoust (ELSS) - The Boot
A.J. Guitard (LAS) - The Boot
Alexandre Osinski (HOR) - SSS Meet
Daniel Poitras-Paulin (LAS) - The Boot
Anthony Minarik (Theriault) - The Boot