Kaitlyn Jinda won the provincial wrestling championship in her weight class in just 30 seconds.
Well, there was hundreds of hours of training and three matches leading up to the final, but Jinda pinned her opponent in the final round in 30 seconds.
It was a success in more ways than one. Jinda, who is 15 and in Grade 10 at Carihi, sprained her ankle in the first tournament of the season and struggled to regain her focus after that.
“I was definitely in a funk with my mental state because it is so hard to be as competitive as I am and not being able to train or compete,” she said.
According to Gena, Kaitlyn’s mom, things started to turn around at Christmas when Kaitlyn’s brother, wrestling partner and biggest fan came home for the holidays.
“They have grown closer the older they have gotten,” Gena said.
That, as well as direction from her coaches and mental performance workshops through the Ignite program, helped Kaitlyn improve dramatically from the beginning to the end of the season.
Gena saw that dedication and improvement show for the first time when she received a text from Kaitlyn from a tournament in Washington.
“She scored the first two points, I didn’t panic. I came back and scored two fours and pinned her,” the text said.
“Right there I knew that she was focused,” Gena said. “She didn’t panic, didn’t get behind and make silly shots and rush her shots.”
That focus persisted through the rest of the season, in spite of the long waits at tournaments. At provincials Kaitlyn arrived at the gym at 7:30 a.m. and had to wait until 4 p.m. to wrestle.
“Everyone thinks that sport is more of a physical thing, but it is more mentality,” Kaitlyn said. “The mental state is probably 95 per cent of what you are doing, if you don’t have the mentality you’re done, you won’t be as successful.”
Kaitlyn started wrestling in Grade 2. She had to tag along with her mom and brother to her brother’s practices. After seeing Kaitlyn rolling around on the mats, the coaches asked if she would like to join in.
Gena said she protested. At the time wrestling only started in Grade 6, but the coaches said “she’s tough enough, she can practice with us.”
During wrestling season, Kaitlyn is on the mats four times a week between the Carihi team and the club team. She also regularly travels to Port Alberni as there are more people in her weight class at that club. As well as wrestling, she lifts weights twice a week and on the other days, does either sprint training or gymnastics.
Though she strives to improve and hopes to get a university wrestling scholarship, it’s not about winning for Kaitlyn.
“To me it’s not really about the results you get because you could be getting last place and you can be wrestling better than the first place, it’s just how the match really turns out,” she said. “I just want to be the best wrestler and athlete that I can be.”
Kaitlyn will be competing in nationals this weekend in the 67 kg weight class in Edmonton.