The trip to and from school every day has become routine for Erin Geddie.
The 16-year-old wakes up at 6 a.m., gets ready, makes the drive to the ferry terminal, hops on the ferry to Campbell River and heads off to school. After class, she attends wrestling practice or a workout session and usually makes her way back to Victoria on the last ferry home, all while squeezing homework in between.
Despite living in Esquimalt, the Grade 11 student makes the extra hour-and-a-half commute both ways to Carihi Secondary School every day.
She does so for one reason only: for the chance to wrestle with athletes that are not available for her to compete against in Victoria.
“There’s a lack of training partners in Victoria this year. There’s a lack of people my size for seniors this year,” Geddie said.
Her wrestling career began four years ago when Esquimalt High School athletic director Mike Thompson approached her and other Rockheights Middle School students to join the team.
As a joke, Geddie and a few friends decided to join the club. She stuck with it and eventually became the only female Grade 8 student to wrestle on a team with mostly boys in grades 9 to 12.
“I love the physical and mental aspect of wrestling. Just the fact that you have to be so mentally tough and strong and you have to be able to deal with whatever comes your way,” said Geddie, who is also a rubgy player.
“You never really know what you’re going to do going into a match. You have a plan, but it doesn’t always go as planned. You just have to roll with the punches.”
In a few short years, Geddie has found success on the mat. In 2014, she brought home a bronze medal from nationals and most recently, she brought home silver during last year’s national championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick in the 70 kilos category.
With two medals under her belt, she set her sights even higher this season — bringing home gold at nationals.
Thompson, who is also Geddie’s coach, said she has the ability to be an elite-level athlete.
“She’s very methodical in her approach to technique and I think that’s what sets her apart from her competitors is that she’s very particular in the way she executes all of her technique,” said Thompson, who has coached Geddie for the past four years.
“She has a drive inside that only the high-level elite kids have. It’s not something that can be taught.”
Geddie, along with other B.C. wrestlers who plan on attending nationals in Calgary next year, have the opportunity to learn from some of the best with a nationals training day on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Esquimalt High.
Clinicians John Pineda and Frank Mensah, two high-performance coaches for B.C Wrestling, will be on hand to teach students how to apply basic skills in a high-performance situation.
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To confirm attendance email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for Geddie, she hopes to get a scholarship to wrestle in university and take the sport as far as she can.