Alannah Day knows exactly what she is going to do the moment the whistle blows to start a wrestling match - push the pedal all the way down, and leave it down, until her arm is raised in victory.
There is no other way for her to wrestle. No other way for her to compete in the sport she loves. And no other way she would rather do it.
This is her athletic nature. She makes no apologies for who she is. She wants to win, and will do everything before, during and after to ensure she is standing at the top of the podium and not someone else.
“When I step on that mat, I am very aggressive,” the 14-year-old Grade 9 Lockerby student said. “I have to walk in like I own it, no fear. And when that whistle blows, it’s my game now. I make the rules. I’m not nice out there, but I’m not wrestling to make anyone like me. I’m there to win. And I will do anything to keep winning.”
It’s working for her. Day, representing the Sudbury Regional Wrestling Club, earned first place in the cadet 60-kilogram division at the Canadian cadet and juvenile championships in Fredericton, N.B., in April. It was her first year at the cadet level after winning back-to-back national and provincial titles as a bantam in the two years prior. She also won the cadet provincial gold medal this season.
It has only taken Day three years to make her mark in wrestling on the provincial and national stages. In her first three years of wrestling, Day has made a name for herself. She has zero plans on putting her feet up and enjoying her success. Day can’t help but push the pedal down further. She wants to find out how far she can go.
“Winning nationals was the biggest achievement ever,” Day said. “Winning is an amazing thrill, especially when you get into big competitions with harder opponents. I just don’t ever want to lose the feeling of being champion. My goal is to win every year. I push myself hard for this, and still haven’t found my breaking point, and I don’t think I will any time soon.”
Talent and skill wise, Day has a lot going for her and it adds up in a hurry to make a lethal mat presence at a young age. It comes back to the road she has travelled to get where she is today in the sport. She hasn’t taken the easy path or had favourites played for her. Day has been grappling against opponents older and more experienced than her for two years and racking up the wins.
“It’s scary,” SRWC head coach Andy Lalonde said. “She’s in Grade 9, and she has already beaten some of the Top 10 girls from the junior level at tournaments. Some of those girls have four years on her. She beats them on a regular basis. Yes, she has great potential.”
Day just eats up training and has boiling-over passion for the sport. She wants to be the best, so she puts forth her best — Day in and day out. It is the explanation behind her success for three straight years.
“She’s willing to work,” Lalonde said. “She always wants to wrestle more after a hard two-hour practice. She has great balance and she’s a really tough kid. What she lacks in technical skill, she makes up for with a lot of mental toughness. She controls the pace of the match and forces opponents to wrestle from bad situations.”
When Day looks back at the last three years, she can’t help but smile. She took to the sport naturally and embraced it. She has committed countless hours to become a champion. She takes immense pride in her work. Wrestling is her purpose and passion and Day thanks her lucky stars daily for having been “dragged out” to wrestling meets as an elementary kid as her older sister, Alyssa, pursued the sport through high school.
It’s what started it all and Day loves how it has gone along so far and she can’t wait to see where it brings her.
“I was never amazing at other sports, but when I tried wrestling it just came naturally,” she said. “Just to find something I could do, and do well, was all I needed. It’s not just a sport for fun I do my best at. It’s my life and my job, and I think I’m pretty good at what I do. Everything I do revolves around wrestling. I’m going where ever wrestling takes me.”
Posted by Arron Pickard