Mayben Crabbe smiles alongside USS wrestling coach Mike Rhodes after earning a gold medal at last month’s provincial wrestling championships.

Mayben Crabbe smiles alongside USS wrestling coach Mike Rhodes after earning a gold medal at last month’s provincial wrestling championships.

Ucluelet wrestler ready to defend national crown

"I’m really nervous, but I’m up to the challenge."

Mayben Crabbe isn’t leaving any effort untapped.

The 17-year-old Ucluelet Secondary School student will graduate this year and is working hard to wrap up her impressive high school wrestling career with no regrets.

Crabbe grappled her way to a gold medal at the recent B.C. Wrestling Association provincial championships and told the Westerly she had  “a lot of fun” and “a really good experience.”

While the result speaks for itself, Crabbe said she was happy with the way she wrestled and added her past success hasn’t nixed the nerves she feels heading into each match.

“I was feeling good. I definitely felt on top of my game,” she said.

“It’s a lot more pressure, especially when it’s my last year. The butterflies in your stomach really overwhelm you sometimes…I was really nervous between each match but, as soon as I got onto the mat, that went away and I felt really happy because I love wrestling.”

Her final provincial matchup put her against Mackenzie’s Haley Florell and Crabbe said she was thrilled to go up against such a strong opponent to earn gold.

“It was an honour to wrestle her,” Crabbe said. “I’m excited that I got to wrestle her. It made me appreciate the win more because it was a better challenge. She made me work for it and I’m very happy with the result.”

The provincial tournament wrapped up USS’ wrestling season and was Crabbe’s last crack at competition before heading to defend her national crown at next month’s Juvenile Canadian Championships in Ontario.

Crabbe became the West Coast’s first national wrestling champion last year and will be the only local competitor at this year’s event. She plans to work with USS wrestling coach Mike Rhodes and put in some training in Port Alberni leading up to her title defense.

“I’m going to try to do as much training as I can and try to stay in shape…I’m really nervous, but I’m up to the challenge,” she said.

“As long as I train as hard as I can, and don’t goof around, I’ll be okay with the results because I’ll know I have given it everything I’ve got.”

She said her community’s support has been “amazing” and the local kudos she’s received for her hard work have been appreciated and motivating.

She added Rhodes and her family have been key to her success.

She said her time on the wrestling team helped round out a positive high school experience and she encourages younger students to get into the sport and push themselves to get the most out of their time at USS.

“It’s really helped me build character and a great work ethic and it’s great for learning about health and figuring out who you are,” she said. “It helps you to see what you’re capable of, how far you can push yourself and if you are willing to push yourself.”

Crabbe is currently applying for colleges and hopes to extend her wrestling career through her post-secondary pursuits.

Coach Rhodes told the Westerly News he couldn’t be prouder of Crabbe’s efforts and accomplishments and added the provincial championships shone some stoke on the school’s next potential champions.

“It was a fantastic tournament for our whole team,” he said.

“All of the kids wrestled great and had success in terms of their personal goals. It was a great way to end the season…We competed hard, had a lot of fun and made a ton of lasting memories.”

More important than the results, Rhodes said USS’ wrestlers displayed a strong West Coast vibe.

“The kids handled themselves with pride and character throughout the whole weekend. They supported each other and celebrated each others successes,” he said.

“We didn’t come away with any team titles this year, but our group of young athletes certainly represented the West Coast with class and pride.”