After an impressive university wrestling career, Huskies women’s team captain Natasha Kramble will complete her athletic eligibility this season and leave behind a half-decade legacy with the Dogs.
Before she goes, however, the 23-year-old has one last shot at winning the only major award she doesn’t already have in her trophy case: a national university title.
In the non-conference season this year, Kramble kept busy by winning the Huskies’ home tournament, the Winnipeg Wesmen Open and a meet hosted by the Regina Cougars. At the Wesmen event, she was also named the tournament’s most outstanding female wrestler.
On Feb. 15 and 16 Kramble and her team went to Edmonton for the Canada West finals. She finished second in the 48-kilogram division, qualifying for nationals.
What’s more, Kramble was named the Canada West female nominee for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport student-athlete community service award for her work with church youth groups and her involvement in several charities.
No stranger to the art of medal collecting, the Saskatoon native has been at it since joining the Huskies in 2008, when she took home bronze at the Canada West finals in her rookie season. She is now well known amongst her wrestling peers as one of the toughest 48-kilogram wrestlers in the country. The five-foot-three grappler has added conference gold to her collection of hardware as well as national medals in her last two seasons. She snagged the bronze medal at the CIS championship meets in both 2011 and 2012.
Now entering her final national CIS competition, Kramble is more determined than ever to improve on her past performances and prove herself the best in the country.
A natural-born athlete, Kramble attributes her knack for wrestling to her childhood gymnastics training and an elementary teacher’s school reward methods.
“In elementary, there was a teacher who had a little mat, and on Wednesdays, if you were good, you got to learn how to wrestle at lunch hours,” Kramble said.
She continued to improve her wrestling skills through high school. There, she went on to claim both Saskatoon and Saskatchewan titles for three consecutive years. She concluded her high school career by winning the Juvenile National Championship in the women’s 46-kilogram weight class.
Last semester Kramble returned to high school, this time as a teacher and coach. She was doing her teaching internship at Marion Graham Collegiate in Saskatoon. While there, she coached both wrestling and volleyball. By spring Kramble will have a double degree in kinesiology and education. She hopes to continue on as a teacher, coach and athlete in the years to come.
Natasha says she has enjoyed her five seasons with the Dogs, noting that the Huskies have allowed her to form lasting relationships and gain memorable experiences. In fact, she hopes to keep working with the program after she graduates.
“I’ll continue wrestling with the Saskatoon Wrestling Club [a group that trains with the Huskies] because we’ve got a great program here, and helping out with the Huskies [and] bringing in younger girls.”
Kramble and the rest of the Huskies representing the University of Saskatchewan at nationals will head to Western University in London, Ont. March 1 and 2 to vie for top wrestling honours.
Photo: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf