Taylor pushes through the grind
It has been an impressive summer for Brock Wrestling Club member Hannah Taylor.
Competing at the Spanish Grand Prix in Madrid, she had four tough international matches and ended up winning gold, defeating her American opponent in the final.
“She was up eight points and I pinned her. It was kind of a comeback win which is always exciting because it gives you lot to work on plus you still were victorious.”
The 25-year-old Summerside, PEI. native followed that up with an even more important result at a world ranking series event in Hungary. With 28 wrestlers in her weight class, the eight-time national champion won three of four matches to earn a bronze medal. Her lone loss came to the world champion from Moldova, Anastasia Nichita.
“We are always training to be the best that we can be. We didn’t taper for these events and you don’t always feel the greatest when you get out there but I was still able to put it together,” the three-time senior national champion said.
The bronze medalist at 2022 Commonwealth Games went into the world ranking series event in Hungary ranked 13th in the world and her bronze medal should help her move up.
“The better your ranking is for the world championships then the better draw you will have,” Taylor said. “And with that, the world championships this year are an Olympic qualifying event. If you are able to place in the top five, you will qualify for the Olympic Games.”
Her preparations for this summer have been more of the same for the three-time USPORTS champion.
“It just feels the same as any other summer. We are in here grinding every single day and we have been grinding non-stop. I can’t even remember the last time I had a break,” said the two-time bronze medalist at the under-23 world championships.
Her schedule has included: a 10-day training camp in Hungary; a training camp at Brock with athletes from across Canada; the aforementioned tournaments in Hungary and Spain; and, a training camp in Montreal.
“It’s usually camps that make you better. You get a lot of experience wrestling people from around the world and Canada where there is nothing on the line.”
Taylor is motivated by her goals to push through the grind.
“I live in St. Catharines just for wrestling. I am originally from Prince Edward Island and the only thing that is tying me here is wrestling,” she said. “My family is back home, I am going to want to work back home, my fiancé is here waiting for me to go back home so every single day I am working towards the goal of going to the Olympics. The days that I don’t feel very good I think that I have one crack at this.”
Next up are the world championships Sept. 16-24 in Belgrade, Serbia, followed by the 2023 Pan-Am Games Oct. 20 to Nov. 5 in Santiago, Chile.
“It will be my second time going to the Pan-American Games. It only happens every four years so it is a significant event in my journey. Last time I went (in 2019) I was single eliminated which was a hard pill to swallow. Obviously I am hoping to improve on that.”
A top five finish by Taylor at the worlds will earn Canada a berth in the 57-kilogram division at the Paris Olympics but she will have to earn the spot at the Canadian wrestling trials in December in Edmonton.
“On December 15, I have to be at my best on that day and all the days leading up to that are super important regardless of how I am feeling.”
It has been awhile since Taylor has lost on the domestic scene but she is taking nothing for granted.
“The last time I lost at the nationals was in 2019 when I lost to the (under-23) world champion Alex Town. She is the No. 2 ranked athlete in my weight class currently and I will probably face her in the final.”