She was introduced to the sport almost by accident, but since then, the Fredericton-born athlete has become a star.
“I used to do judo and taekwondo when I was younger, but I really liked the grappling of judo,” Racozzi said while at King’s-Edgehill School’s athletics centre.
“I was doing snowboarding last year for the first part of winter but I kind of got bored of it because we were just doing dry land.”
She asked around for something else to try during her first year at the school in Grade 9 and eventually looked into wrestling and was immediately drawn to it.
Two weeks later she found herself competing in her first wrestling tournament.
Now in Grade 10, Racozzi will be competing at the Canada Games — the only student from the school that will be heading to Winnipeg this August.
“It was like judo, not really, but kind of,” she said with a laugh.
“It’s just the feeling you get from wrestling, it’s grappling, it’s just fun,” she said. “Doing a really nice throw makes you feel so good, even after you wrestle a really hard match you feel amazing.”
Racozzi has competed in many tournaments since her first one in Grade 9, including provincials in 2016. The Canada Games will be her biggest tournament to date.
Off to the Canada Games
“I am nervous. I’m the only one going from King’s. I don’t know many who will be there,” she said.
“But I just really want to have fun and do well,” she said.
“I don’t want to let myself down,” she added. “But, it’s an honour to be representing the school.”
The main things she’s working on leading up to the games are endurance, speed, sprawling and her throws.
Regardless of what happens at the Canada Games, Racozzi said she plans to stay with the team at the school for the next two years and is hoping to continue the sport into university.
“It does feel a little weird competing for another province because I was born and raised in New Brunswick, but I’m happy for the opportunity and honoured I made the team,” she said. “I’m excited to challenge myself with people from other provinces.”
Racozzi admitted that she does feel a little bit of pressure, knowing she’s the only one from KES going to the Canada Games — but she’s getting a lot of support from school staff and her fellow students.
Although she lives on the Windsor campus during the school year, she’ll be moving back to Fredericton for the summer, where she’ll have to keep up with her training on her own.
The Grade 10 honour student also plays Division 1 soccer and Division 1 rugby on top of her rigorous wrestling regime.
Kim Walsh, the athletics director at King’s-Edgehill School, serves as Racozzi’s Canada Games coach. He said he’s constantly impressed by her incredible work ethic and love for sports.
“The Canada Games process, we’re probably into about a year and a half at this point, when the core team was originally selected,” Walsh said. “We just finished the trials last month, so now she is on the final Canada Games team; it’s huge.”
Walsh said he’s confident that Racozzi will do her very best when she’s in Winnipeg.
“During the trials, she was also doing rugby full time, also focusing on her academics of course,” he said.
But despite juggling multiple pressures, she still managed to land on the provincial team.
“Because she’s so athletic and enjoys sport, wrestling was natural for her,” he added.
Racozzi is a bit younger than some of the other athletes attending the national competition. Walsh says that means she’ll have to work even harder to come out on top.
Walsh says he’s likely retiring as a coach for the Canada Games.
“This will probably be my last Canada Games as head coach I expect; I’ve been doing that since 2005,” he said.
Walsh competed at the Canada Games in Brandon, Manitoba in 1979, when he was a wrestling athlete at KES, and has been involved in one way or another ever since.
He said he’s excited to be returning to Manitoba to finish his career with the Canada Games as a coach.