Sixteen-year-old Abigail Titian is preparing to compete in New Brunswick in April. (Facebook photo)
Abigail Titian is rather pleased that she listened to the advice of a friend a few years ago.
Titian, a 16-year-old Ahousaht First Nation member, took up the sport of wrestling three years ago. She is now preparing for her first national tournament. She will compete in both the freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions in the girls’ 57-kilogram category at the Canadian championships, scheduled for April 4-7 in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
“One of my friends saw me and asked if I’d like to try it out in Grade 9,” Titian said of her introduction to the sport. “She said my size is well suited for the sport.”
Titian and her friend, who was a member of the school wrestling squad, felt her speed and flexibility would also make her a natural in the sport.
Now a Grade 11 student at Ucluelet Secondary School, Titian has achieved a fair amount of success in wrestling.
“I fell for her convincing me,” Titian said of her friend’s suggestion to try the sport. “And now I’m very glad I chose to do so.”
Titian also plays for her school’s badminton and volleyball squads. And she used to represent the school on its basketball team.
She said she prefers individual sports as she didn’t enjoy the constant feedback from teammates, frequently telling her what she should or shouldn’t be doing while games are in progress.
“I like wrestling more because it is an individual sport,” said Titian, adding she is not a member of a wrestling club outside of her school. “But you still have the support of your teammates.”
Titian is enjoying her best year in wrestling thus far.
She placed sixth in her weight class at the British Columbia high school tournament, which was held in Langley. Her division featured 16 entrants. And she ended up winning four out of her five matches at that competition.
By registering a top-six finish, Titian earned the right to participate at the national meet in Fredericton.
Those taking part at the Canadian meet must pay all of their own expenses. Attending the nationals will not be cheap for Titian and her parents, Margaret and Leo. Flights alone are $700 each. And the family is expecting to pay between $150-$200 per night for a hotel. Her parents have been trying to attract some local sponsors to help offset some of these expenses but have not had much success.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle,” said Margaret Titian, also a member of the Ahousaht First Nation.
Her husband is from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.
To help raise some funds the family is staging its own raffle for seafood. Tickets for this draw are $10 each. More information about this draw is available by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Though this will mark her first appearance at a national meet, Titian believes she will have a strong showing.
“I have confidence I’ll do my very best and put up a good fight,” she said.
She’ll also be taking part in a new discipline.
“Greco-Roman would be new to me,” she said. “But I’ve practiced it and I figure I can do okay in it at the tournament.”
Unlike freestyle, Greco-Roman wrestling does not allow any scoring for moves below the waist. Thus, leg attacks and trips are forbidden.
Though she still has one more year of high school studies remaining after she completes her current one, Titian believes she will still be wrestling after that.
“I’d like to continue on with it after I graduate (from high school),” she said. “I’m interested in going to Simon Fraser University and see what happens from there.”
Titian is not sure quite yet what she might want to study at the post-secondary level.
“I was interested in (eventually going to) medical school,” she said. “But I’ve also thought about becoming a counselor for youth.”