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Wolfville-based wrestler hitting the mats for Team Canada in May

Wolfville resident Makayla Levy, upright, is heading to the United World Wrestling Pan American Games as a member of Team Canada in May.
Wolfville resident Makayla Levy, upright, is heading to the United World Wrestling Pan American Games as a member of Team Canada in May. - Submitted

WOLFVILLE - Turning mistakes into learning opportunities is a big part of why Makayla Levy will soon be wrestling for Team Canada.

The Wolfville-based athlete won her second national title in the U19 freestyle division for the 57kg weight class during a tournament hosted at the Butterdome in Edmonton, Alta. April 13-15. She was one of six wrestlers from Nova Scotia to compete in the Canadian Wrestling Championships.

“I probably was more nervous than she was. Each match you get a little less nervous and you feel a little more comfortable,” said her father, Gary Levy.

Levy has been in Makayla’s corner as a member of her coaching team, and proud parent, since she took up wresting seven years ago. 

“You hope for the best but you have no control over what happens once they step on the mat,” he said.

He’s not likely to forget the moment his daughter’s eyes filled with happy tears as she rushed off the mat after winning nationals, knowing she’d just secured a spot on Team Canada.

“It’s fabulous to watch any of my kids that I coach win,” he said.

“It’s the gratification that you see in their face.”

Makayla also received her second national outstanding wrestler award, outscoring her opponents 37-0 in the first match and 37-5 the following day.

She’s slated to travel to Guatemala in May to represent her country at the United World Wrestling Pan American Games. And she’ll go there as the first female wrestler from Nova Scotia to qualify for Pan Ams in 13 years.

“You always want to be optimistic for your kids and how far they can go and succeed in sports. We knew that she was very talented and athletic,” said Levy.

“When she first won provincials in Grade 6 against Grade 8s, we knew she would excel at the sport.”

Makayla, a silver medalist at the 2017 Canada Games, wrestles out of the Metro Amateur Wrestling Club in Sackville and competes for Horton High during the school season.

“I still use high school to try things that I don’t get to try at bigger tournaments, and work on moves,” the Grade 11 student said.

She plans to focus on enhancing her strength, techniques and cardio leading up to Pan Ams, where she’ll zero in on one match at a time.  

“It’s a lot of situational drilling and keeping high tempo and vigorous workouts to keep her ready and in shape,” her father said.

“I think a lot of it is your mindset, what you think really plays a role in what your outcome is,” Makayla added.

She’ll have her mind set on making it to the final showdown between the top two wrestlers in her division, a feat that would punch her ticket to the world championships in Croatia.

“It’s really exciting,” she said.  

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