Jade anything but green
Brock Wrestling Club member Jade Parsons uses three words to describe her first-ever appearance at the senior world wrestling championships.
“Finally I’m here,” said the 27-year-old Orillia native, who looks so young that she probably gets carded most everywhere she goes. “I have been wrestling for so long and I feel like I have been at the cusp of this level for so long that I am ready to step out at the worlds this year.”
The gold medalist in the 48-kilogram division at 2017 Francophone Games is going to the senior worlds in Budapest, Hungary, wanting to do more than just get her feet wet in her first appearance at the worlds.
“I’m there to compete, for sure, but I have only wrestled this weight class once before,” she said.
That came at the World Cup in Japan where she helped Canada to a fifth-place finish against the top eight teams in the world. Parsons won one of her three matches in Japan.
“That’s where I got my feet wet and realized that I can be competitive at that weight,” she said.
“I ended up training for the 55-kilogram trials and I ended up winning them so now I’m going to worlds at my new weight.”
She defeated Abby Lloyd and Cara Nania to earn Canada’s 55-kilogram berth at the senior worlds.
“Internationally I have always been not quite ready or a half step behind the No. 1,” she said. “I have won Pan-Ams twice and not getting to the senior worlds made me hungrier to get there.
“I did whatever I could and I went up a weight class for this one.”
Her new weight is for the worlds only because her usual weight class, 53 kilograms, is an Olympic weight class. Her goal is to get to the Olympics.
“It is an unique dynamic because the No. 1 at 53 is one of my good friends, training partner and teammate (Diana Weicker),” she said. “That is not a common part of the sport, but it is something we both have to deal with.”
Another Brock teammate, Kristina McLaren, is also one of the top Canadians at 53 kilograms.
“She is definitely an up-and-coming contender, for sure,” Parsons said.
Brock head coach Marty Calder is looking forward to see what Parsons can do at her first senior world championships.
“Jade was in Korea with me and had a great training camp there and she’s a competitor,” he said.”She shows up on game day and it’s going to be exciting to see what she can do against these girls.”
Wrestling Canada’s international coach Tonya Verbeek likes the makeup of Canada’s women’s team.
“We are well prepared as a team, we have had a long season and we have had a lot of competitions and training camps,” she said. “I’m really excited with our team moving forward and it marks a good spot.
“We are two years out from the Olympic and 2020 and this will benchmark us to see where we are at.”
The Canadian team is a combination of veterans and first-timers like Parsons.
“It’s going to be a nice mix,” Verbeek said.