Big changes took place last year for the Alberni Armada Wrestling Invitational and after a year back at ADSS, the event is ready to go again— bigger and better.
The 33rd Annual Alberni Armada Invitational Wrestling Tournament runs Feb. 5–6 in the ADSS gyms. In an effort to connect more closely with their roots at the high school the Invitational was moved back to ADSS last year and it proved a great success.
The Alberni Invitational is widely considered the most prestigious high school wrestling tournament in B.C. and has received recognition across Canada. The tournament started in 1980 and has run every year except the four years the local wrestling group hosted the BC High School Championships. That means 37 straight years that this dedicated group of volunteers have run a major wrestling tournament in the Alberni Valley.
The event was held at the old ADSS school from 1982 to 1994 before moving to Glenwood in 1995 and then the Multiplex in 2003 as it got so large.
“We are extremely proud of the history and traditions our wrestling program has established over the past 37 years,” tournament co-chair Tom McEvay said.
“No other wrestling program in BC can boast that they have run 37 major tournaments and many would be happy to have done it once.
“This is our 33rd Invitational to go along with four provincials and it only happens because of the amazing volunteer spirit in our community.”
McEvay is joined this year by co-chair Mike Roberts of ADSS.
“Since this is another milestone year for us we are calling on all alumni to come back and celebrate with us,” McEvay said. “Come and take in the action, support our current wrestlers, join us for some socializing and visit the incredible new Alberni District Secondary School.
“We are very excited to showcase our local wrestlers at ADSS as this is their program.”
Action at the 33rd Invitational begins on Friday, Feb. 5 with morning weigh-ins for boys and girls in the Cadet and Juvenile divisions at 9 am at ADSS.
At 10:30 am Friday there will be a dual meet between the ADSS wrestling team and a team from Western Canada High School of Calgary.
The public is welcome to watch this matchup but seats will be limited as the ADSS student body will pack the ADSS gym to support their team.
Official opening ceremonies for the invitational are scheduled for 1:15 pm Friday afternoon.
Tournament action gets underway at 1:30 pm and runs to at least 8:30 pm that evening all at ADSS.
Organizers expect the very exciting semi-finals to start around 7 pm Friday evening but get there early. There is no gate cost.
The Alberni Invitational tournament action will start again Saturday, Feb. 6 at 8:30 am with the preliminaries continuing until at about 10:30 am.
From about 10:30 am to noon will be matches for fifth and sixth as well as third and fourth places in each weight class.
Finals are scheduled to start close to 12:30 pm and will run until close to 4 pm. Again on Saturday admission is free to the public but space will be limited.
Not only do local fans have an opportunity for some great competition at the Invitational, you also will once again see very competitive Alberni wrestlers. ADSS has a very young team this year and will not field many entries in the Juvenile grade 11-12 division.
The ADSS Boys Cadet team of grades 9 and 10 is currently ranked in the top 3 in the province going into this event. They will likely battle it out with more than 40 other schools for the team title in the Cadet division. These teams could include Guildford Park of Surrey, Carson Graham, Abby Traditional, WJ Mouat, St Thomas Moore and Island powers Cowichan, Esquimalt and Campbell River.
The ADSS girls look to be strong in the Cadet and School Age categories.
It will be an exciting few days of wrestling action in the place many observers call “The Wrestling Capital of BC – Port Alberni! “