Emily Schaefer’s university wrestling career is off to a rousing start.
The four-time Ontario high school champion at Northern Collegiate, who now wrestles for the Brock University Badgers, won her 51 kg weight class at the recent Ontario University Athletic (OUA) championships in Sudbury to advance to the national (CIS) championships in Edmonton.
There she fell to Haley Thomas of the University of Alberta in the gold medal match.
Despite the disappointing loss to the fifth-year senior, Schaefer, a freshman, exceeded her expectations this season.
“I really didn’t know if I’d be successful at the university level, because there is such a huge difference from high school,” she said. “There are no longer any easy matches. Every match is a challenge.”
Schaefer, 18, had planned to use her first year as a learning experience. Making the team was a bonus, and the national success was “icing on top”, she added.
For her solid season, which included victories at tournaments in Calgary and at the University of Western Ontario in London, Schaefer was named women’s wrestling Rookie of the Year by both the OUA and CIS.
She also won her weight class earlier this season at the Ontario Amateur Wrestling Championships in Kingston. and is now preparing for the National Junior Championships next weekend in St. Catharines.
If she prevails in her weight class there, Schaefer will qualify for the World Junior Wrestling Championship scheduled for Brazil in August.
“I have high expectations for myself,” said Schaefer of the upcoming national event. “Especially considering the success I’ve had here at Brock.”
Her ultimate goal is to represent Canada at the Olympics.