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Port aux Basques native Nicholas LeRiche has temper in check when he’s on the wrestling mat

Nicholas LeRiche, left, of Port aux Basques, poses for a photo with fellow Games wrestler Logan Drover of Eastern at the Athletes Village Friday afternoon.
Nicholas LeRiche, left, of Port aux Basques, poses for a photo with fellow Games wrestler Logan Drover of Eastern at the Athletes Village Friday afternoon. - Dave Kearsey

Nicholas LeRiche had to beg his mom to let him participate in the 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games.

After pleading for so long, his mom decided she would let him go and he’s thankful she gave him the benefit of the doubt.

LeRiche, son of Terry LeRiche and Sharon Pike of Port aux Basques, is a member of Western’s wrestling team at the Games in Deer Lake.

The 14-year-old student at Saint James Regional High School admits his mom had reason to worry over the years because he had a bad temper and had trouble keeping his emotions in check.

He dabbled in a number of sports growing up, such as soccer and volleyball, but his experience was short-lived in all of them because he didn’t like them.

Wrestling, however, has been a constant in his life and a sport that he believes has helped him mature as a youth and his temper tantrums are few and far between since embracing the sport.

He’s more calm and collected than he used to be. He don’t get upset over little things like he did.

“I leave my anger and frustration on the mat,” LeRiche said Friday at the Athletes Village.

He has been competing in provincial wrestling tournaments since he picked up the sport, other than taking a year off when he was seven years old when he had four months of pain and aggravation from a broken femur as a result of being picked up in the air and slammed to the ground and landing on a rock during a street hockey game.

He still has some pain and discomfort from the injury with flare ups from time to time, but he’s excited to be involved in a sport that has helped him deal with challenges in life and also meet people from other places.

He didn’t waste any time meeting a new friend. His first loss in the 95-kilogram weight class division was at the hands of Logan Drover of Eastern and Friday afternoon the two were hanging out like they knew each other all their life.

He appreciates his mom more than ever now. When he was younger his mom wouldn’t dare let him go away because she feared he get in trouble or end up hurt.

Wrestling has helped him turn things around with mom having more faith and trust in him now.

“I find it better because I’m more free and can do more things,” he said.

It wasn’t about a trip to the medal podium. It was more about making mom proud and letting her know she made the right call.

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