Alberni Valley wrestlers dominated at the Vancouver Island Secondary Schools Wrestling Championships in Nanaimo on the weekend. Both the Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) boys and girls teams won the Island title in convincing fashion. For the Boys it was the 12th consecutive Island team title and 25th time in 29 years. The Girls reclaimed the title after finishing second last year. Both Neill and Dunn Middle Schools also had Grade 8 wrestlers place and in the end 30 local wrestlers qualified for the BC Secondary Schools Wrestling Championships which are in Penticton February 23-26.
The ADSS boys finished the tournament with 123 points, second place Dover Bay finished with 58 points, and Cowichan Secondary finished with 57 points. On the girls side ADSS finished with 43 points, second place Ucluelet Secondary finshed with 31 points, and Phoenix Middle School finished with 26 points. There were 31 schools represented at this year’s Island Secondary Schools Wrestling Championships so the dominance of ADSS is particularly impressive.
Individually ADSS had five gold medallists crowned as Island Champions in 2012. Jesse Wagner (51 kg), Nolan Badovinac (70kg), Cullen Hines (74 kg) in the boys and Jordie Bodnar (43 kg) and Daley Forbes (75kg) in the girls division all earned gold in their weight classes.
Russell David (ADSS 54kg), Eryk McKenzie (ADSS 63kg), Connor McDonald (ADSS 84kg), Christian Anderson (ADSS 110kg), Corinne Gough (Neill 43kg), Remi Wells (ADSS 54kg), Micaela Dick (Dunn 60kg), and Bailey Durning (ADSS 64 kg) all claimed silver medals in their respective weight classes.
Six Alberni wrestlers rounded out the medal count bringing home bronze medals in their respective weight classes; Jarred Beckett (ADSS 48 kg), Jordan Wagner (ADSS 51 kg), Dean Leyland (ADSS 60 kg), Austin Jaworski (ADSS 66 kg), Riley Neville (ADSS 84 kg), and Samantha Anderson (ADSS 90 kg).
Sheldon Haddad (4th ADSS 60kg), Janelle Beckett (4th ADSS 54 kg), Courtney Lescorbeau (4th Dunn 57 kg), Michel Kurucz (4th ADSS 60 kg), Julia McGowan (4th Dunn 69kg), Lauren Barker (5th ADSS 54 kg), Jonathan Spencer (5th ADSS 70 kg), Tyler Drew- Adams (5th Dunn 90 kg), Chris Kurucz (5th ADSS 110kg), Emma Vanderlee (6th ADSS 69 kg), and Wes Boris (6th ADSS 70 kg) also finished in the top 6.
“I am happy with how the team performed today,” commented ADSS Assistant coach Chris Bodnar. “There are a few things we need to focus on but I am confident we are going to be ready come provincials. The ADSS team’s goal isn’t to just win the Island Championships. That is nice but we have been preparing all season to try and win another provincial team banner to hang in that new ADSS gym. As coaches we are going to push them pretty hard mentally and physically this week. Then we will taper it back the last week before the BCs so that they are feeling rested and ready to make a run at the BCs Penticton.”
When asked who stood out at the Island championships on the weekend EJ Dunn and Club Coach Russell Bodnar made the following observations. “There were too many highlights to pick just one. Grade 12s Daley Forbes and Cullen Hines certainly dominated their weight classes. Grade 9 Nolan Badovinac was impressive going undefeated and beating two provincially ranked Grade 12’s in doing so. The Wagner twins were in arguably the toughest weight and could easily be in the final against each other at the BCs. Grade 8 Dunn wrestler Micaela Dick turned heads beating a returning provincial medalist and highly ranked Grade 12. Her only loss came was to an opponent in Grade 11 who hasn’t lost yet this year. These are just a few of the performances that stood out to me.”
Those wrestlers who have now qualified will be preparing for the BC Secondary Schools Wrestling Championships in Penticton February 23-26. A small group of local wrestlers will be selected to attend the National Cadet/Juvenile Championships in Fredericton New Brunswick April 11 – 16.