Seventh national title for Taylor
Brock Wrestling Club member Hannah Taylor is in a new phase of her wrestling career.
The 24-year-old Summerside, P.E.I., native is enjoying her first year away from school and work. It allows her to focus solely on wrestling.
“During the day, I can study matches and get ready in other ways for the sport. I can also focus on my nutrition more because I have the time to get the groceries I need for that night,” the three-time USPORTS champion said. “I am completely dedicating myself to the Olympic cycle.”
There is a much different feel to her training.
“I get a little bit bored during the day but I am lucky enough to have several roommates to hang out with and study matches with. I also get to hang out with my dog during the day (a French bulldog named Nelson).”
Taylor’s new training regimen paid off recently when she won her seventh national freestyle wrestling title and second in the senior ranks.
It was anything but easy to record that seventh crown. Standing in the way in the 57-kilogram division was long-time foe Alexandria Town, whom she would also beat later in the finals of the Canada Cup in Summerside.
“She only had one match and you might think it was an easy championship but it was against a (former under-23) world champion. And Alex Towns has had some great results recently too,” Brock coach Dave Collie said. “A lot of other competitors avoided that weight class because of those two.”
Collie described Taylor’s performance as great.
“She knows what she needs to do to beat Alex Towns which is to avoid her gut wrench. Hannah’s goal is to not get taken down and if that happens there is a good chance she is going to win the match.”
Town and Taylor are approaching 20 matches that they have wrestled against each other.
“We have battled in the finals at many events and that was only my fourth match in the last two and a half years,” Taylor said. “It was difficult but I am lucky that my coaches prepped me to the best of my abilities on match day every Saturday. That got me ready because I have tougher people in the room than I have on the national stage.”
Every Saturday morning in the Brock wrestling room is match day. Wrestlers show up wearing their singlets, they do an individual warmup and then they compete in about four or five matches, unless it is close to a competition and they are tapering.
“You have to battle there and get mentally ready by pretending that Saturday is the national championships or the world championships,” Taylor said. “If you can prepare yourself mentally that you believe that match in the room is crucial, you will be successful. I know it is hard for some people to translate their style of wrestling in the room on to the wrestling mat but once you can master that, it sets you up great.”
By winning nationals, Taylor earned a spot at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in August and the world championships in Belgrade, Serbia, in September.
“This is the perfect pathway that I could have envisioned for myself. Train super hard, win nationals and get these opportunities,” said the two-time bronze medalist at the under-23 world championships.
She is not frightened to be on the big stage at senior worlds.
“It being my second time, I know what it feels like to be there. I have also been at several world championship events in all the other age groups,” she said.
Taylor is all about the process at this stage of her wrestling career.
“Being realistic, I don’t care about results as much any more. I care about how I feel when I compete and how I do wrestling at the end of the day.”
She is much different wrestler now and she is much more confident.
“I had to be confident because I hadn’t had any matches. I couldn’t really gauge in that way if I was getting better,” the four-time Ontario University Athletics champion said. “I know now when I wrestle that I am more excited and I am more happy about the sport. No matter what, I know that I put my work in the room every single day. That is going to push me and get me to where I need to be.”
Losing in the finals of the 2019 Olympic trials was an important moment on her career.
“Because I lost in the final to Linda Morais, I want to keep training as had as I can and keep getting better offensively, keep mastering my defence, get stronger on the ground and just keep building on who I am as a wrestler so when I get in front of a wrestler, no matter who they are, I have a style and I can push the match rather than wrestling someone else’s style,” she said. “At the end of the day, if I do that, I know that regardless of outcome I will be happy with the performance that I get.”
The Brock Wrestling Club is holding its annual fundraising golf tournament Sunday, Aug. 29 at Rockway Vineyards. All proceeds are used to support the international travel of its athletes. The $150 entry fee includes golf, cart, lunch, dinner, starter package and prizes. For more information, contact Marty Calder at 905-688-5550, ext. 4758 or email@example.com. Event sponsorships and hole sponsorships are also available.
This is the fourth story in a series profiling Brock Wrestling Club members who won national titles in 2022.