The Armada wrestling team celebrates capturing the BC Team title. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Alberni wrestlers capture BC team title for second straight year

ADSS wrestlers finished 31 points ahead of second place team

Alberni District Secondary School’s wrestling team showed their prowess once again, finishing first overall in the aggregate competition at the 2019 BC High School Wrestling Championships in Langley.

The aggregate trophy and banner is awarded to the team with the highest point total using both male and female results. The Armada walked away with the title, finishing 31 points ahead of the second place team Maple Ridge Secondary School.

Three Alberni Armada were crowned as BC Secondary School Provincial Champions. Evan McLeod (38kg), Paige Maher (69kg) and Mackenzie Boudreau (75kg) all went undefeated to claim the gold medals in their weight classes.

“Paige was the number one wrestler going in. She hasn’t lost to a BC wrestler in over a year,” noted her coach and aunt Jeannette Badovinac. “We knew they were potential placers, but Evan and Mackenzie wrestled the best they had this season when it mattered most.”

The Armada Boys narrowly missed taking home the boys’ title for the second straight year. They finished two points behind Tamanawis Secondary of Surrey and well ahead of the third place team, Guildford Park of Surrey.

“We came very, very close to winning another boys banner,” said head coach John McDonald. “It came down to a couple of final matches. It is easy to think about what could have or should have been but I have got to give a lot of credit to the whole team for performing a bit beyond what we expected this year.

“We knew we had a top three team but we didn’t think we were going to challenge for the title. Losing a number of championship semis confirmed that belief. Then, on Day 2, we started winning matches and just kept on going.”

Grade 12 Jayce Clayton (90kg) lost a close final to finish second. Bobby McKenzie (45kg), Seth Price (63kg), Owen Spencer (66kg) and Scott Coulthart (90kg) all showed a lot of grit to come through on the consolation side to win bronze medals. Jayden Iversen (6th, 84kg) rounded out the placers for the boys.

The Armada girls finished in third place behind Maple Ridge Secondary and Saint Thomas Moore of Burnaby. In addition to champions Maher and Boudreau, Miranda Barker finished fifth at 90kg and Anna Frost finished sixth at 54kg, despite having only wrestled a couple weeks this season.

“We are excited about next year,” said McDonald. “We graduate a handful of kids and some of our leaders, but the majority of our team are returning and we have some keen up and comers.”

The tournament in Langley marks the official end of the high school season. A few wrestlers have been invited to participate in training and competitive opportunities with Team BC over the next few months. Most will turn their attention to developing their athletic skills by playing other sports. Five wrestlers will be travelling to Fredericton to compete in the U17/U19 National Championships.

Local wrestling families and supporters should mark April 25 on their calendar for the 41st Annual Wrestling Awards Night at ADSS.

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