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High School Wrestling
Samuel Genest wrestler leads east end contingent at city championships
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Alejandra Paguaga from Samuel Genest flips Lester B. Pearson wrestler Keisha Bernier on her back on her way to winning her third straight gold medal. Fred Sherwin/Photo


 

It was just another day at the office for Samuel Genest wrestler Alejandra Paguaga at the NCSSAA wrestling championships on Wednesday. The Grade 11 student won her third consecutive gold medal and is well on her way to becoming the most decorated wrestler the east end has ever produced -- male or female.

Paguaga (pronounced Pag, as in Tag, wha-ga) was never seriously challenged as she cruised to her third gold medal in as many years.

Paguaga was first introduced to wrestling four years ago by her karate instructor. She took to it immediately, winning her first gold medal in Grade 9 competing against girls two and three years her senior.

In 2011, she won a silver medal competing at the U16 Ontario Cadet Championships for the first time. She followed that performance up by defending her NCSSAA crown and then capturing gold at the OFSAA provincial championships in Sudbury.

In April, she won gold at the national cadet championships competing in the 56kg weight division, earning a berth on the World Cadet team in the process. At the World Championships in Hungary she placed fifth.

Paguaga is hoping for better results competing as a juvenile this year. She repeated her silver medal performance of a year ago at the U17 Provincial Championships in London where she competed in the 60kg division against fellow national team member Braxton Papadopoulos from Ajax.

After dropping six kilograms, to avoid competing against Samuel Genest teammate Theresa El-Lati, Paguaga easily won gold in the 54kg weight class.

With one more year of high school eligibility left, Paguaga is already contemplating her future at the university level and would love nothing more than to represent her country at the World Championships and perhaps even the Olympics.

"To go to the Olympics would be a dream come true," says Paguaga. "Once I get into university, I definitely want to try to make the 2016 team."

Besides winning a third gold medal on Wednesday, Paguaga also won the referees' award for exhibiting sportsmanship, team leadership and wrestling excellence.

El-Lati also managed to defend her gold medal in the 57.5 kg division, and together the two wrestlers helped Samuel Genest place third in the girls' team competition.

The pair will be joined at the OFSAA championships in Peterborough by 11 other wrestlers from the east end, including seven members of the Lester B. Pearson wrestling team and four wrestlers from Cairine Wilson.

Alejandra Paguaga has Lester B. Pearson wrestler Keisha Bernier tied up in knots in the gold medal match at the NCSSAA championships at St. Patrick's High School on Wednesdayl. Fred Sherwin/Photo

 

(Posted 9:30 a.m., Feb. 23)

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