By Gary Ahuja
Special to VarsityLetters.ca
LANGLEY — The way Victoria Seal tells it, she wasn’t fully convinced wrestling was the sport for her.
Both her older brothers, Justin and Nicholas, wrestled in high school, and sister Alexia, took it one step further past high school, now wrestling collegiately at Simon Fraser University and with some international experience on her resume.
“At first I wasn’t into wrestling, I didn’t like hurting people or anything like that, but the coach got me to join,” Seal explained.
She’s done nothing but hurt her opponents in the won/loss column ever since.
Seal, a Grade 12 student at Mission, capped off a dominant high school career, capturing her fourth consecutive gold medal at the B.C. Secondary Schools Wrestling Association provincial championships presented by Onni Group.
The competition wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon at Langley Events Centre and in addition to a fourth gold medal, Seal took home the championship’s Most Outstanding Female Wrestler Award.
Seal defeated Kelly Road’s (Prince George) Kaily Pattison in the female 57-kilogram category, winning the match 10-0. All four of Seal’s matches ended quickly, with Seal building a 10-point lead to win by technical superiority. In fact, she did not concede a single point over the two days.
And while she may not have wanted to join the sport back then, the big smile across her face shows she made the right decision.
“Honestly I am so happy just to be able to come out here every year and do my best. I just love this sport so much and being able to win it for a fourth year in a row just makes me so happy. I could never do it without my teammates and my family,” Seal said. “Winning these awards always pushes me to keep going, always helps me do my best in this sport. I just come here and have fun but winning is obviously a goal in mind.”
Seal is simply trying to follow the example her sister has set. Alexia won three B.C. provincial wrestling titles as well as taking the 2016 Top Female Wrestler Award.
“She always pushes me to be the best and how well she has done, helps push me to try to do as well as her,” she said.
Her coaches at both Mission Secondary and at Coast Wresting Academy, Omid Ghahghaei and Frank Mensah are not surprised by her success.
“The most important thing is she is a really hard worker,” Ghahghaei said. “And every year, she has a one-year game plan for herself, what she should do in three months, six months one year. She is just so dedicated.”
Seal has also wrestled for Canada, twice competing at the Cadet Pan Am Championships, earning bronze medals in both 2017 and 2018. She also placed 10that the 2017 Cadet World Championships, improving from 16th the year before.
And while Seal may be done from the high school ranks, the Most Outstanding Male Wrestler award recipient will have one more crack at earning that prestigious honour.
Karan Gill will have the chance to go for a repeat after the Tamanawis Grade 11 student won a second straight gold medal in the 78-kilogram boys division.
Gill defeated Karmveer Rai (Panorama Ridge) 10-0, and just like Seal, winning all four matches by technical superiority and without conceding a point.
The 16-year-old Gill is undefeated over the last two years in the high school ranks, and according to his coach Aso Palani – who also coaches Gill at the Khalsa Wrestling Club – the award is long overdue.
“I have preached for a long, long time that he is the best so I’m happy he finally got the award,” the coach said.
Gill’s last loss at the high school level came in the 2017 provincial championships, where he lost in the gold-medal match in his Grade 9 year.
But that loss proved to be a valuable teaching lesson for the grappler.
“After I lost, I realized what my mistakes were. As long as I was winning, I wasn’t really looking at my mistakes, I was just looking at the positives,” he explained. “But when I lost, I started looking at the negatives and started to fix those, and once I fixed those, I was going to get better.”
Gill’s work ethic and maturity stand out as solid factors behind his success.
“He works harder than anybody, he comes in and leads by example start to finish and he does it beyond what anyone else will do,” Palani said.
The coach also shared a story from last year’s club national championships, where Gill – despite breaking his hand in the final – managed to still win the match.
“Just thinking about wresting 24/7, hard work and doing everything in life, just putting it in perspective of wrestling basically,” Gill offered about what makes him successful.
With Gill’s gold medal leading the way, Tamanawis captured the Boys provincial title, narrowly edging out Alberni District. Tamanawis finished with 67 points, just two ahead of Alberni District, the defending champions. Guildford Park was third at 40.
Alberni District did win its second consecutive Girls and Boys Combined title with a cumulative 101 points, well ahead of Maple Ridge’s 70 points. St. Thomas More Collegiate was third at 64.
Maple Ridge did take the Girls title with 52 points, five better than St. Thomas More Collegiate, who had 47. Alberni District was third with 36.
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