Heffel nets fourth at nationals
Teenage wrestler just misses the podium at National Cadet and Juvenile Wrestling Championships
Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 06:00 am
Local wrestling star Haley Heffel was just shy of a podium spot April 15 after losing the bronze medal match by a pin at the National Cadet and Juvenile Wrestling Championships.
The 15-year-old Jarvie student competed for the first time at nationals, earning the fourth spot overall in Canada.
After winning three of her five matches at the event, Heffel said it was ultimately her lack of experience that affected her performance on the mat.
“I am a third-year wrestler competing against girls who have been wrestling for like eight years. They just caught me on my mistakes and it cost me the match,” Heffel said.
Westlock wrestling coach Jessie Norton agreed with her student, adding that Heffel did well even though she did not know what to expect going into nationals.
“The first couple of matches were easily won but I think the third match surprised her,” Norton said.
In the semi-final match Heffel said the level of competition got fierce as one bad move ended up costing her.
“I just turned the wrong way and she threw me, which was my mistake,” she said.
Heffel said she was able to hold the upper hand for the majority of the following bronze medal match.
“I had the girl in the pinning position in the first round and then the clock ran out. In the second round I had her again in pinning position and my weight was a little too high. She bridged me and then she football tackled me,” she said.
Wrestling at 65 kg in nationals was a last-minute decision for Heffel, who had originally decided to move down a notch to compete in the 60 kg weight class.
Heffel took home a gold in the 60 kg weight class at the 2012 Alberta Open held in Ponoka last March to prepare for nationals.
“The 65 kg wrestlers are slower than the 60 kg wrestlers and I kind of figured I was a pretty strong girl and thought I would have the advantage by being the quicker one,” she said.
Heffel whose regular weight is 63 kg said she was one of the few wrestlers that didn’t cut her weight class for nationals.
With nationals ending her wrestling season, Heffel said she would be spending her summer months training and honing her skills.
“I’m going to Edmonton for the training they are offering me throughout the summer. I think the Edmonton club is also taking us to the U.S. for some camps to participate in,” she said.
Heffel added that she would be also participating in wrestling camps offered in Jasper as well which she hopes will help her come back next year stronger.
“Next year I’m going to make a comeback at nationals. I’m going to be that one girl that they are going to be terrified of,” she said.