Alberni wrestlers bring home hardware

Junior Alberni wrestler Rowan Cole pins her opponent during a match in the elementary division of the Cougar Invitational on Saturday.  - Photo submitted
Junior Alberni wrestler Rowan Cole pins her opponent during a match in the elementary division of the Cougar Invitational on Saturday.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Wrestlers from Alberni District Secondary School and junior members of the Alberni Wrestling Club travelled to Chemanius to compete in the Cougar Invitational on Saturday.

The tournament featured wrestlers from all over the Island and Alberni had a strong showing.  ADSS finished first in the Senior Boys Division, second in the Senior Girls, second in the Junior Boys and third in the Junior Girls Division.

The Cougar Invitational featured three age divisions: Senior (grades 10 to 12), Junior (grades 7 to 9) and Elementary – grades 3 to 6.

The ADSS Armada won the Senior Boys Division.  Trevor Barker (54kg), Isaac McDonald (60kg), Aaron Badovinac (74kg), Daniel Spencer (78kg), Jayce Clayton (84kg), Trenton Vanderkooi (110kg), and William Merry (130kg) all went undefeated to claim gold medals in their respective divisions.  Darien Van Ingen placed 4th at 54 kilograms and Prateesh Giri finished 5th at 63 kilograms.

“I was happy with how our group wrestled today,” said ADSS head coach John McDonald.  “Our most experienced wrestlers did what they needed to do and looked pretty good.  The tournament was a good warm-up as we move into the most competitive part of the season.  Our gold medalists were pretty dominant today.  Trevor (Barker) and Daniel (Spencer) had a couple good come from behind wins, but in some cases we went unchallenged.  The competition will be a little deeper and a little tougher when we compete on the mainland and I am interested to see how we have developed when we square off against more provincially ranked kids in Kamloops next weekend.”

In the Junior Boys Division, ADSS had seven wrestlers competing, all of whom placed in the top two.  Bobby McKenzie, Ravi Manhas (44kg), Owen Spencer (57kg), Landyn Clayton (74kg) and Scott Coulthart (84kg) wrestled well to finish with gold medals in their weight classes.

Rookie wrestler Rajan Khanar showed great potential in winning the silver medal at 57kg and Mason Bodnar looked strong en route to the silver medal at 84 kilograms.

Six female wrestlers competed for the Armada at the tournament.  Paige Maher won the gold medal in the 75 kg Junior Girls Division.  Morgan Dagenais (Sr. 67kg), Kyla McAuley (Sr. 110kg) and Anna Frost (Jr. 52kg) lost just one match to finish in second place in their divisions.  Miranda Barker (Jr. 75kg) and Mackenzie Boudreau (Sr. 60 kg) both finished with bronze medals in their divisions.

“Unfortunately our girls team did not come out of the tournament unscathed,” said Coach Russ Bodnar.  “Mackenzie Boudreau could not finish the tournament after an awkward landing in an early match.  She has been one of our most dedicated girls this year, so we hope to have her back healthy and ready to compete soon.  If our girls are healthy and regularly dedicated to practice they can compete at the provincial level. ”

In addition to the strong contingent of wrestlers from ADSS, 17 Junior Club wrestlers travelled to Chemanius to compete.  Four Grade 7s had ADSS coaches excited about their recruits for next year.  Cole Robinson (52kg) and Brenden Iversen (44kg) both finished second in the Junior Boys Division while Cooper Day (40 kg) and Austin Caton (56kg) finished fourth.

Alberni’s results in the elementary division were impressive.  Rowan Cole (31kg), Evan McLeod (32kg), Justin Elliot (41kg), Caitlyn Baker (43kg), Keanna Sept (49kg) and Cameron Maher (53kg) impressed coaches by finishing first in their divisions.  Anika Elder (2nd 29kg), Alex Bielert (4th 33 kg), Alex McKenzie (4th 34 kg), Riley Dannenberg (3rd 37kg), Jax Robinson (2nd 38 kg), Leeam Dannenberg (2nd 41kg), and Grant Coulthart (2nd 67kg) all had equally strong showings.

When asked about his team’s performance, Junior Club coach Dean Leyland said, “Our kids did great.  They are learning to compete and using what we have been practicing in their matches.  The whole group is nice to work with.  The little group of girls we have coming out are really impressive.  They are athletic, they are having fun and they are tough wrestlers.  If we can hold onto them I predict a very strong Armada Girls team in a couple years.”


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