Esquimalt wrestler finds success on the mat

The moment someone yells “Go!” a look of calm and determination washes over Hunter Grant's face as he steps onto the wrestling mat.

Esquimalt High School student Hunter Grant (right) teaches Rockheights middle school student Tyler Shaffer a wrestling move during practice Wednesday night.

The moment Esquimalt High’s athletic director yells “Go!” a look of calm and determination washes over Hunter Grant’s face as he steps onto the wrestling mat.

Grant is methodical as he eyes his opponent on the blue wrestling mats in the school’s gym, responding to their every move strategically and analytically.

His determination and willingness to win has become a skill he’s developed over the past four years.

Grant originally came to Esquimalt High in Grade 9 to play rugby, but after discovering the school had a wrestling team, decided it would be a good way to stay fit while he wasn’t playing rugby.

Shortly after, he competed in a novice wrestling tournament against athletes from around Vancouver Island and — without much prior experience — won.

“Looking back at the matches, I really didn’t know what I was doing,” laughed the now 17-year-old in his final year of high school. “There wasn’t a lot of technique, it was mostly about strength and endurance going at each other. At the time, it was the single most exhausting experience of my life.”

Since then, Grant’s passion for the sport has flourished, and he’s learned to refine his technique. However, finding someone to compete against or practice with on the Island can be a challenge for the six-foot-five, 265-pound student. When he wants to test out new moves, he heads to jiujitsu classes to take on larger opponents.

But during competitions, Grant doesn’t hold anything back.

Throughout the seven-month season, he competes in tournaments almost every weekend and has continued to dominate on the mat. Last season, he picked up bronze in the heavy weight class during provincials in Abbotsford. He also went on to win gold in greco and silver in freestyle wrestling during nationals in Calgary.

“I’ve found it really is a psychological game, just because there’s so much pressure on you,” said Grant, who competes in the 110 to 130 kilogram weight class. “That can be really challenging at times. That makes it really rewarding and it also creates a deep level of respect for people.”

The school’s athletic director Mike Thompson said Grant is extremely coachable. He takes in everything he’s told, analyzes it and translates it on the mat.

“This type of sport can be very reactionary, and when you get someone on the mat who can actually break down the thought process of technique, without just reacting physically, you get someone like Hunter and that’s what sets him apart from other kids, especially kids in his weight class,” he said.

This year, Grant is trying his hand at coaching, teaching middle school students from Rockheights and Shoreline the art of wrestling twice a week — something he says helps him manage his own pressure.

Up next, Grant will compete in War on the Floor this weekend, his first live tournament of the season on the Mainland.

 

 

Just Posted

Development on grounds of former Victoria Truth Centre sent to public hearing

Controversial project moves forward with revisions to previous plans

Police wait on autopsy findings on human foot

Sooke RCMP are waiting for autopsy findings before determing if a human… Continue reading

Victoria rental prices declining, according to national listing website

The median price of a one-bedroom suite dropped almost five per cent in December

VIDEO: That’s a wrap: Be a Santa to a Senior packages ready to go out

Program hands out more than 600 gifts to Greater Victoria seniors

Lost Victoria: Story of the Crystal Palace

Historian Stuart Stark launches book about iconic Oak Bay structure that was lost to flames

VIDEO: That’s a wrap: Be a Santa to a Senior packages ready to go out

Program hands out more than 600 gifts to Greater Victoria seniors

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

Island entering the peak of flu season

Island Health says flu shots the best prevention against the virus

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Most Read