By Charles Tweed
If Kelsey Raab keeps this up she’s going to need a bigger room.
Sure, 16-year-old girls always want a bigger room, be it for clothes, shoes, or accessories but not Raab, who is in Grade 10, she needs the wall space. Her wall contained eight medals leading up to the March 11 and 12 wrestling provincials in Stony Plain. Five gold, two silver and one bronze. And now you can add another gold as Raab won provincials and locked up her spot at nationals in Windsor, Ont. April 7 to 10.
The road to gold wasn’t easy for Raab.
She lost her first match, bumping her to the B-side of the draw. From there Raab rattled off three consecutive wins to finish with a record of 3-1 and qualify for the semifinals in the third position.
As luck would have it, Raab would get a chance for redemption. Facing the same girl she lost to in the first match Raab figured some things out to secure the win over her rival.
“I wrestled her twice and I learned a different way to manoeuver and work her, so I could get in where I needed to be.”
The win put her in the final against Michila Scherger, Grade 12, of Rundle College in Calgary. Scherger came into the contest undefeated on the season and more incredibly hadn’t been pinned at any time during the course of the year.
Watching the match you would have a hard time putting the two in the same weight class. Scherger appears considerably bigger than Raab, but it’s not size that matters.
The match was back and forth and a couple of times Scherger had Raab in a vulnerable position but the Ponoka wrestler was able to manoeuver out of danger and avoid being pinned.
In the second round, Raab lost her balance and was thrown to the mat by her competitor. It appeared over, just seconds away from defeat. Scherger stretched out and tried to put more weight on Raab’s left shoulder to secure the pin. Just as Scherger relaxed for a moment, a split second, Raab fired with her hips and drove the Calgary wrestler over the top and onto her back.
The reversal was an incredible display of power, quickness, heart and an uncanny sense of timing seen only in the best.
Raab found herself on top in a north-south position, frantically trying to put enough pressure on her competitor to secure the pin. It seemed like an eternity and that Scherger touched a couple of times — no signal from the referee. And then it comes, the ref signaled the pin, Raab’s family, friends and coaches screamed with joy and continued to cheer as the Grade 10 Ponoka Composite High School wrestler graciously shakes her opponent’s hand.
“She’s been undefeated all season and had a perfect score. She’s also beaten me twice and she’s never been pinned all season,” said Raab. “And I beat her for the gold, I was so ready for it and so pumped.”
The win secures Raab a spot at nationals. Her family will make the trip to watch her in Ontario and even some extended family on her dad’s side, who live in the area, will make the journey.
Nationals take place in early April, good news for Kelsey’s mom, Brenda, who will use the time to rest her voice.
“I lost my voice — I don’t holler when she’s wrestling only when she wins,” said mom.
And that meant she was doing a lot of hooting and hollering.
The provincial title also vaulted the Ponoka Composite High School wrestling team into the third place ranking in the province. Somewhat amusing when you consider the team consists of Raab alone.
Raab will now set her sights on filling her wall with a tenth medal. And mom and dad better think about that bigger room because she’s still got two more seasons to go.