Huskies wrestler Koren Pitkethly was destined to wrestle.
Pitkethly hails from Mackenzie, B.C., the same hometown as Canadian Olympic Wrestler Leah Callahan. In fact, it was Callahan who encouraged Pitkethly to start wrestling.
“She peer pressured me and forced me into wrestling back in grade eight,” Pitkethly said. “And ever since then I started winning and I loved it.”
Soon after, another twist of fate led Pitkethly to Saskatoon. Representing her high school team, she came to Saskatoon for wrestling nationals.
“That’s where I met the Huskies coach and a bunch of the Huskie athletes I train with now,” she said. “After I met them I knew this is where I wanted to wrestle and come be a Huskie and support Saskatoon.”
Since coming to the U of S, Pitkethly has enjoyed a successful career with the Huskies. During her five years on the team she has won three Canadian Interuniversity Sport silver medals and a gold medal at the Canada West Championship.
Pitkethly says winning her third silver medal at the CIS championships this year was the perfect way to end her five-year university career.
“Everyone is always like, ‘Well, silver isn’t gold,’ but I can’t ask for anything better,” she said. “I put everything out on the mat and left everything out there.
“To be able to [win silver] three times now is a really big accomplishment. It’s a big honour for me to be able to represent the U of S and wrestling as a sport. I was happy to finish on a really good note.”
Her accomplishments aren’t going unnoticed by the school, either. Pitkethly is now nominated for the Huskies’ female athlete of the year award for her grappling greatness. She says the nomination is the icing on an already sweet cake.
“To be nominated and to potentially be able to be in the history of the U of S as one of the top female athletes, I can’t ask for anything more,” she said.
Pitkethly is in her final year studying education and hopes to become a high school teacher specializing in either physical education or biology. She also wants to stay close to the sport and help coach wrestling.
Although being a student athlete doesn’t leave Pitkethly with much free time, when she does get a free moment she enjoys hanging out with friends, reading and playing board games.
With her degree finished and time with the Huskies over she intends to relax this summer. Pitkethly plans to head home to B.C to enjoy the weather and will possibly return to Saskatoon to help her teammates prepare for upcoming tournaments.
As for superstitions, Pitkethly only has one: “I shave my legs every day of weigh-in,” she said.
The ritual may have worked, but it took a lot more than luck to win three CIS silver medals.
Photo: Jordan Dumba