She’s fought through a debilitating injury that all but wiped her season last year. But Sooke wrestler Leigha Auld overcame the adversity and now has her eyes on Canadian gold.
The Grade 12 student at Edward Milne Community School had a breakthrough season, winning gold at the 2020 B.C. High School Wrestling Championships, and finding the podium in other events.
From a raw, hard-working kid who began wrestling in Ucluelet six years ago to joining both the Victoria and Sooke wrestling clubs, Auld has developed into one of the country’s top young wrestlers, and is quick to share the credit with her coaches – and older brothers.
“My brothers were my biggest wrestling partners. I had two older brothers so I had to learn to defend myself,” said Auld, 17. “But it was also the coaching, I’ve always had good coaches.”
Victoria Wrestling Club coach Steve Rennalls has been proud to watch Auld as she competed this season, after she injured her elbow last year which kept her from competing at the provincials.
“It’s a pretty incredible wrap up to her season, especially in light of how the previous season ended,” Rennalls said. “This year she won most of her matches, but never all at the same time until the provincial tournament.”
Auld has now set her sights on winning at the provincial level to the nationals. She’ll get her chance when she competes at the Canadian Wrestling Championships next month in Edmonton.
“After placing seventh in the nationals two years ago, it felt like it wasn’t going to happen,” said Auld, who will compete in the 75-90-kilogram division. “I’m hoping for gold this time, but I’ve never wrestled any of the girls who will be there.”
Auld has received plenty of help from her coaches and teammates with her training. This is likely her last year of competitive wrestling as she heads to Camosun College next year pursuing a bachelor of science degree.
For her part, Auld is giving back to the sport. This summer she wants to get her coaching licence and coach next year in Sooke.
“The first time I went on the mat, I fell in love with wrestling,” Auld said. “It takes a special person to wrestle.”
The words of a true champion.