Today is Isaiah Springer's 21st birthday, and it's definitely a special one.

Springer has received some well-deserved recognition for his performance on the mats for the University of Alberta's Golden Bears.

The Cochrane athlete has been named Male Wrestler of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year for Canada West as well as the Student-Athlete Community Service Award.

The Golden Bear athlete recently helped to lead the Golden Bears to their 13th Canada West Championship on Mar. 13 by capturing gold in the men's 72kg weight class.

Among those he met along the way to his gold medal was fellow Cowboys alumni Connor McNeice, who is a member of the University of Calgary Dinos team. It was a narrow victory that was decided by Springer scoring last in the match.

This was Springer's second Canada West medal. He won silver in the 65kg class in his rookie season in 2020 and earned a bronze at the U Sports nationals. There were no competitions in 2021, and this year's national championship was cancelled.

Springer has built upon the skills he developed with the Cochrane Cowboys Wrestling Club and with the St. Timothy High School team. At St. Tim's, he was also a highly-active volunteer.

He wisely didn't back away from his training during the COVID shutdown. If anything, he stepped it up a notch.

"When the COVID year hit, even though everything was shut down, I knew it was my time to close that gap between the people who were a little bit ahead of me," says Springer. "So I took that COVID year to try to recognize what I was lacking in my game, and try to fix those aspects so I could come back this season and try to perform the best that I could."

He was pleased with his success in this year's varsity season but taken back a little when he was showered with awards.

"I thought there were a lot of athletes who had stand-out performances. I was very happy I ended up winning it, but I wasn't expecting it."

Springer is currently preparing for the 2022 Canadian Wrestling Trials being held in Edmonton on May 26-27. Winners in the tournament have an opportunity to represent Canada at the world championships in September.

Springer is also a skilled rugby player who competed locally as well as with the Alberta Wolfpack.

He's taken a step back from the sport and now only plays recreational 7s, understandably because he can't afford the chance of injuries. But he has stayed in touch with the sport by helping to coach a U13 team for Edmonton's Nor'Westers Athletic Association.  

Springer is working on his Bachelor of Secondary Education in hopes of pursuing a career as a high school teacher.

Isaiah Springer 2Isaiah Springer had a match against Connor McNiece, another Cochrane Cowboys alumni, at the Canada West Championships. (Photo by Bill Bain