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Alberni boys are Island wrestling champs for 24th consecutive year

Port Alberni girls secure third place in event

The Alberni District Secondary School’s boys wrestling team clinched the Vancouver Island Secondary School Wrestling Championship for the 24th consecutive year. The victory also marks the 36th time in the last 40 years that the Alberni boys have secured the title of Island Champions.

In a tightly contested competition, ADSS emerged victorious, narrowly edging out Queen Margaret’s School from Duncan by a mere two points to seize the championship title.

The ADSS girls secured a commendable third place, trailing behind Queen Margaret’s School and Ucluelet Secondary.

Individually, 16 wrestlers from ADSS demonstrated outstanding performances, securing top six finishes and earning the honor to represent Port Alberni at the BC High School Championships slated for Feb. 22-24 in Vancouver.

Seven wrestlers clinched gold medals and the Island Champion title: Grant Coulthart (Male 130kg), Andrei Makofka (Male 74kg), Alex McKenzie (Male 63kg), Kellen Hiltz (Male 45kg), Nolan Cross (Male 41kg), Sage Dziekan-Gwilt (Female 69kg), and Kelcie Sam (Female 47kg) showcased exceptional skill and remained undefeated throughout the tournament.

Additional accolades were earned by Marcus Newton (second place Male 48kg), Danika Currie (third place Female 54kg), Holly Coatta (third place Female 51kg) and Evan Jimenez (third place Male 41kg) for their podium finishes in their respective weight classes.

Rounding out the top six finishes were Alex Sam (fourth place Male 90kg), Janna Hiltz (fifth place Female 57kg), Gavin Fong (sixth place Male 60kg), Kamryn Mallon (sixth place Female 51kg), and Paige George (sixth place Female 54kg), exemplifying the depth of talent within the ADSS wrestling program.

“Honestly heading into the final matches I thought it was a long shot for us to claim the boys title,” admitted ADSS coach Maureen Miller. “Winning six of the seven gold medal matches was better than we expected. Our finalists all looked really tough. It was great to see four of our Grade 12s finish their Island Wrestling careers with a win and our young up-comers proved that they are ready to follow their lead next year. It is also great to see a close team race. Being challenged is a good thing and helps everyone develop.”

Grade 12 athlete Alex McKenzie garnered praise from coaches across the island and was honoured as the Most Outstanding Male wrestler for the tournament.

As the journey to the Provincial Championships unfolds, qualified wrestlers are geared up and ready to showcase their prowess at the PNE Agrodome on Feb. 22 and 23.