The Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) Armada boys wrestling team won the Campbell River Invitational in dominant fashion this past weekend. The tournament was the last competition prior to the Island Championships Feb. 14, the qualifiers for the BC High School Championships.
The ADSS boys finished the tournament in first place with 94 points, Terry Fox from Coquitlam was a distant second place with 29 points, and Esquimalt Secondary finished third with 28 points.
The Armada men were led by the gold medal performances of Issac McDonald (51kg), Aaron Badovinac (66kg), Dean Leyland (78kg), and Nolan Badovinac (90kg).
“I was happy with how all our wrestlers wrestled this weekend,” ADSS coach John McDonald said. “Obviously the four guys who went undefeated looked strong.
“Coming back from an ankle injury, Dean Leyland dominated the 78kg weight class. I was glad he got to test it prior to the Island Championships. He certainly performed without issue. He is a leader and a key member of our team so it is great to see him back leading on the mat too.”
Nolan Badovinac and Isaac McDonald both moved up a weight class for the added challenge. The elder Badovinac was awarded the Most Outstanding Wrestler award for not only his dominant performance but the sportsmanship he displayed too.
The ADSS boys had several other wrestlers contribute to an impressive team result. Trevor Barker (45kg), Russell David (57kg), Jarred Beckett (63kg), and Johannes Kulich (66kg) all finished with silver medals, each only dropping one match to the gold medallists.
Shane Leeper (54kg), Daniel Spencer (63kg), and Trenton Vanderkooi (110kg) rounded out the medal placings with bronze medal finishes.
Unfortunately the Armada women had several key members of their team missing due to injury or illness. Morgan Dagenais finished with the bronze medal at 54kg and Lauren Barker wrestled to a fourth place finish in a tough 57kg weight class.
“Having Emma McGowan, Remi Wells, and Michel Kurucz out of our lineup really hurts. We hope to have these girls healthy and ready to compete at the Islands next weekend,” coach Jeannette Badovinac said.
“If we have to one or two may have to be petitioned in based on their previous results.”
The Armada development system continues to look strong. In the Junior Boys Division EJ Dunn and Neill finished second and third respectively. Dunn also placed third in the Junior Girls Division.
EJ Dunn was led by the gold medal performances of Grade 8 leaders Noah Stampeen (54kg), Jaden Iverson (60kg), Jayce Clayton (74kg), and William Merry (110kg). Ethan Tramer (48kg) finished with the silver and Koel Strain (45 kg) finished with bronze.
Prateesh Giri (fourth at 60kg), George Batt (fifth at 45kg), and Landyn Clayton (fifth at 60kg) wrapped up the top six placing for the EJ Dunn Seahawks.
Neill Middle School continues to be led by the strong performances of Seth Price (38kg) and Owen Spencer (45kg) who both went undefeated to claim the gold medal in their weight classes.
Scott Coulthart (70kg) finished with a silver and Mason Bodnar (70kg) a bronze. Joe Bylsma wrapped up the Neill placers with a fourth at 48kg.
“Our team is not huge in numbers but we are big in heart and dedication,” Neill coach Erin Anker said. “Seth, Owen, and Scott are only in Grade 7 but they are already competing and beating some of the top Grade 8 and 9 kids in the province. It was also great to see Mason and Joe compete this weekend. They have come a long way since November.”
The EJ Dunn girls had eight wrestlers compete and place in the Junior Girls Division. Kylea Anderson (75kg) and Kyla McAulay (100kg) both finished first in their weight classes. Circe Campbell (51kg), Miranda Barker (60kg) and Paige Maher (64kg) claimed bronze medals.
Kendra Neary (34kg), Illonia Berg (47kg) and Mackenzie Boudreau (54kg) rounded out the Dunn placers with fourth place finishes.
The ADSS team will be back on the mats training this week preparing for the Island championships in Duncan. The middle schools will wrap up their season with some fun matches at Neill on Wednesday.