Above: Brothers Max (left) and Luke Foster of Hagersville Secondary School are heading to OFSAA.


Battling Brothers Push Each Other to Provincial-Level Wrestling Competition



ollowing a few years of touch-and-go athletics as the world dealt with a pandemic, sports are back in a big way in Grand Erie. There are lots of reasons to cheer as brothers Max and Luke Foster of Hagersville Secondary School head to the biggest provincial-level wrestling match at OFSAA this month. 

“It’s refreshing to be back in competition with new and old competitors that I haven’t seen in years,” said Max, who recently won his division at CWOSSA to advance to OFSAA. “Throughout the pandemic, I was still able to continue training, but we were missing the competing aspect. I'm just happy to be back at it again and to wrestle in my last year of high school along with my brother, Luke.”

Above: Max (left) and Luke with Coach Bobbi Woodcroft

Luke, who’s in Grade 11 at Hagersville and competing at the provincial level for the first time, also won all his matches at CWOSSA – that is until the final match, which required him to wrestle his older brother. 

“You obviously want to win all of your matches, even if it is against your brother,” said Luke, who had just started wrestling in Grade 10 when a COVID shutdown prevented further competition. “But regardless of what happens on the mat, you treat everyone with the same respect – brother or opponent.”

Max echoes that sentiment: “I love to see that he (Luke) has taken up wrestling, and I’m grateful to be able to wrestle with him at CWOSSA and now OFSAA. With anyone that you wrestle, you wrestle with integrity and humility.”

Coach Bobbi Woodcroft couldn’t agree more. 

“It’s been a rebuilding year for wresting, and I was so happy to have Max and Luke back,” said Woodcroft, an educator and coach at Cayuga Secondary School, which combines resources with Hagersville to ensure athletes in sports like wrestling get the highest-level competition and skills development. “They are such hard working, dedicated athletes who share their knowledge and leadership on and off the mat.” 

Above: Max and Luke following a recent match.

While Grand Erie will be pulling for Max and Luke as they head to Ottawa for OFSAA, they’ve already won in so many ways. The lessons that each has taken off the mat and into their lives show the value of sport as part of the secondary school experience. 

“Success is not something you possess, it’s something you develop,” said the brothers, who also train between four and six days a week at Discipline Wrestling Club with coach Dave Mair, and are often out of bed at 5 a.m. to work out. “Wrestling has taught us the value of working hard and the importance of setting goals, and doing the work to achieve those goals.”

Their winning attitudes, and the extended family they have around them as they move on to the next milestone, exemplify what it means to lean, lead and inspire. 

“Wrestling is a whole other family. Coaches become role models. Teammates become siblings and other parents are bonus parents.” 

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