Alberni District Secondary School and the Alberni Valley Wrestling Club teamed up again to host one of the top high school wrestling tournaments in Canada this past weekend.
The 34th Annual Alberni Armada Invitational Wrestling Tournament drew more than 500 wrestlers from 78 schools from all across B.C. as well as Calgary, Alta. to the ADSS gym on Friday and Saturday.
The event started Friday morning with the annual McEvay Post dual meet challenge. Winston Churchill High School of Calgary were the opponents for the ADSS Armada.
Armada defeated their Alberta counterparts 75 – 53 in a hard fought series of matches. Top performers for the Armada were Owen Spencer, Isaac McDonald, Aaron Badovinac, Daniel Spencer, Jayce Clayton, Morgan Dagenais, Paige Maher and Mackenzie Boudreau.
“Our athletes really rose to the challenge in front of their home crowd in the dual,” said head Armada coach John McDonald. “It should have been closer than it was as Churchill was a very good team. You could see the determination in our wrestlers’ eyes as they stepped on the mat. We were extremely proud of them and the way the student body and staff supported them.”
The Armada captured seven gold, six silver, seven bronze and another eight top six finishes in the very tough event.
Adding to that total were the wrestlers from local elementary schools who were part of the Alberni Junior Club team, entered in the School Age divisions.
The junior wrestlers added another two gold, three silver and sex bronze medals as well as seven top six finishes. In total 31 local wrestlers took medals at the Invitational and a total of 46 placed top six in their weight and age classes.
The Armada were led by golds from Morgan Dagenais (Juvenile Grade 11-12, 60 kg), Aaron Badovinac (Juvenile 74 kg), Isaac McDonald (Juvenile 60 kg), Paige Maher (Cadet Grade 9-10, 75 kg), Owen Spencer (Cadet 57 kg), Mason Bodnar (Schoolboy Grade 8, 90 kg) and Landyn Clayton (Schoolboy, 70 kg).
Young Rowan Cole and Evan McLeod of the Alberni Junior program won their respective 32 kg weight in schoolgirl and schoolboy.
Badovinac was rarely challenged in the tournament as he solidified his BC No. 1 ranking at 74 kg. McDonald had the best throw of the event with a beautiful head and arm to win the 60 kg final, Spencer was named the Most Outstanding Cadet Boy of the event. Dagenais moved down to her better weight at 60 kg and beat some strong girls. Only in Grade 8, Maher was moved to Cadet and showed why she is one of the top young prospect on the ADSS team this year.
Silver medals for ADSS were Ravi Manhas ( Juvenile, 48 kg), Trent Vanderkooi (Juvenile, 110 kg), Grade 8 Bobby McKenzie (Schoolboy, 36kg), Kyla McAuley (Cadet, 110 kg), Duncan McLeod (Cadet, 41 kg) and Jayce Clayton (Cadet, 84 kg).
Alberni Juniors taking second were Malika McDonald (Schoolgirl, 39 kg), Anita Elder (SG, 32 kg) and Cole Robinson (SB, 51 kg).
Coming third to take bronze medals in their age and weights were ADSS wrestlers Trevor Barker (JB 54 kg), Megan Price (SG, 75 kg), George Batt (SB, 51 kg), Maddy May (CG, 64 kg), Miranda Barker (CG, 75 kg), Seth Price (CB, 51 kg) and Scott Coulthart (CB, 84 kg). Juniors with bronze medals were Keanna Sept (SG, 48 kg), Cailyn Barker (SG, 45 kg), Jax Robinson (SB, 39 kg), Cooper Day (SB, 44 kg), Carter Dupperon (SB, 49 kg) and Brenden Iverson (SB, 44 kg).
Carter Dupperon (SB, 49 kg) and Brenden Iverson (SB, 44 kg).
Other top six placers for ADSS were Daniel Spencer (sixth JB, 78 kg), Will Merry (fifth JB, 130 kg), Manbir Narang (fourth SB, 76 kg), Anna Frost (fifth CG 51 kg), Mackenzie Boudreau (fifth CG, 60 kg), Rajan Khanar (fifth SB, 57 kg), Darien Van Ingen (fourth CB, 54 kg) and Nick Smith (fifth CB, 84 kg).
Junior Club athletes taking top six were Justin Elliot (fourth SB, 42 kg), Tennison Paddison (fourth SB, 49 kg), Cam Maher (fourth SB, 51 kg), Hunter Seltenrich (fourth SB, 57 kg) , Bruce Williams (fourth SB, 58 kg) , Austin Kastin (fourth SB, 63 kg) and Duncan Richardson (fourth SB, 80 kg).
In the team standings ADSS were third in a tight three-way race at Juvenile Boys.
In the Cadet Boys the strong ADSS team got nipped by one point by Vancouver College for the title 57 – 56 with Lord Tweedsmuir close at 53 points. In Cadet Girls ADSS were fourth.
Vancouver College won Schoolboys with the Alberni Juniors second and ADSS sixth.
The Alberni Juniors were third in Schoolgirls behind St Thomas Moore and Phoenix.
“We were thrilled by our athletes performances and by the amazing support from our community,” said tournament Co-Chair Tom McEvay. “Our wrestlers were great on and off of the mats and our volunteers, sponsors and fans second to none. Without this support we can’t run this event. We believe the Invitational is a positive event for ADSS and for the entire community. Thank you to everyone who contributed.”
Preparations now turn to the Island Championships in Victoria February 17-18 and then the 2017 BC Secondary Schools Championships in Salmon Arm March 2-4. ADSS will again be in the hunt at both of these events. It was clear at the Armada Invitational that the Tradition is very much alive and well with wrestling in the Valley.