Fraser rebounds to win senior nationals
After winning an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations wrestling title in her Grade 12 year, 19-year-old Sarnia native Brianna Fraser decided to head to Brock University to pursue the next steps in her athletic career.
The former member of the Sarnia Bluewater Wrestling Club knew going to Brock would be the path of most resistance.
“The big reason why I chose Brock is because I knew there were so many people who could beat me up and I could learn from that,” said the reigning Ontario University Athletics silver medalist in the 76-kilogram division.
It didn’t take long for Fraser to realize that she was in the perfect spot to pursue her wrestling ambitions.
“It was the very first practice when I was getting beat up by Olivia De Bacco,” Fraser said, with a laugh. “I knew I was going to learn because she was really good about teaching and helping people out.”
Fraser has proven to be a quick learner and this spring she won the senior national title at 72 kilograms after placing second in the same weight class in the junior division one day earlier.
Fraser lost 5-0 to Nyla Burgess in the junior semifinals before rebounding to win the silver by pinning Paige Maher, who had lost to Burgess in the final.
In the senior division final, Fraser was losing 4-2 to Burgess, who was named the outstanding wrestler at the junior championships, before pinning her with 2:15 gone in the first round.
“It was a girl who had a lot more experience than her, even though they are both juniors. Nyla had done a lot of international wrestling through the age groups for Canada,” Brock coach Dave Collie said. “We made some technical and tactical adjustments and she came through and beat her the next day. It was nice to see her making the adjustments from Day 1 to Day 2. When we looked at the draw we suspected they would meet in the final.”
Fraser agrees with that assessment.
“The coaches talked strategy between junior and senior and it just kind of worked out.”
Fraser worked hard to become a national champion.
“It is the training in this room and having the coaches that we have,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot in this room because there are so many people with more experience than me. They have international experience and experience on national teams.”
Fraser went to cadet nationals in 2019 and didn’t place but she did place second that year in the national cadet team trials.
She feels she has improved a lot since last September.
“There were a lot of things that I needed to work on this year but moving my feet and my hands, taking shots at the right time and setting shots up have all been coming together.”
This is the second story in a series profiling Brock Wrestling Club members who won national titles in 2022.