There may be no ‘I’ in team, but Lorena Ellis could probably get away with saying it as the only member of STU’s new women’s wrestling team.
“I am the team right now,” said Ellis. “I’m sort of like a guinea pig.”
This is the first year St. Thomas has had a wrestling team, and whether it continues will likely depend on how things go for Ellis this year.
St. Thomas Athletics Director Michael Eagles worked with Ellis’s club coach Don Ryan to submit the wrestling team to compete in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport league in December.
Last year, Ellis wasn’t able to compete at CIS nationals, despite it being hosted in Fredericton. Since coming to STU, she has trained and competed with the UNB Black Bears.
The second-year student, whose been wrestling since she was eight, spent her summer on the national team and competed in places like Germany, Croatia and Toronto. She has won four national medals and three national championships. This year will be the first time she can compete in the CIS.
“I’m just hoping that I’m going prove to everyone that it was a good decision to make. I don’t want them to feel like they made a mistake sending me,” said Ellis.
The first semester was a slow one for Ellis. She only competed once. But she feels she was able to get some good training in, and improve on some things that needed work.
“I didn’t get to test myself as much as I would have liked to.”
CIS nationals are in Edmonton, Alberta on Feb. 27-28. Ellis will get a chance to take on athletes from around the country and show off her skills. Before that she will compete in AUS qualifiers on Feb. 14.
“I’m still excited, but I’m also very nervous because it was a big step to allow it to happen and I know that it’s a pilot project,” she said. “I’m kind of setting the precedent for other people who may want to wrestle for STU.”