Drew Persson had a razor-sharp focus all season long and it finally paid off when it mattered most.
The 18-year-old became a national wrestling champion on April 15, when she won gold in the Greco-Roman 69 kilogram category at the 2018 U17 / U19 Canadian Wrestling Championships in Edmonton.
Persson dominated the competition in her three matches on route to the title and she said it’s long been a dream of hers to earn a national gold medal.
She was one win away for that goal last year at the championships. The Notre Dame High School grade 12 student, who trains out of Crank Wrestling was proud of her win at nationals this time around.
“It’s been a goal of mine since I started, to be the first one to bring a national championship back to our gym. It was very emotional, but it was good,” she said.
“Greco I’ve always found fun because of the throws. This year was the first year we had Greco provincially for our championship. That was exciting.”
On the second day of the competition, in freestyle, Persson had an up and down showing and ended up in fifth, still bettering her sixth-place finish from 2017. Overall, she was happy with that, but looking back thinks that her mental approach was her biggest hurdle.
“None of them went out of the first period, good for the matches I won, bad for the matches I lost. I was satisfied with how I wrestled. There’s things to fix, as there always is. It was a good freestyle tournament to close out my high school wrestling,” she said.
“I’m pretty happy overall, if there was something, it would be just the mental side. My second match that I lost, it was really just I didn’t show up all the way. I’ve seen improvement from that challenge that I’ve been faced with, good to see that there’s something there.”
Persson will attend University of Calgary next year and compete for the Dinos Wrestling team but is already is excited to get going. In the past few years, she’s already faced some university competition but said she can’t wait for the experience training every day with top level athletes.
“Just more wrestling partners and being able every day to have multiple people to wrestle. Olympic champions and other Olympians,” she said.
Her goal is to bring home another medal from the Canada West Championships next February.
She plans on spending most of the summer training, with a week along the way at U of C with the Dinos.