The 30th Annual Alberni Invitational Wrestling Tournament was another great success both on and off of the wrestling mats.
More than 600 wrestlers from more than five age categories gathered at the Alberni Valley Multiplex last weekend.
The invitational now comprises five different age divisions from the introductory elementary program through the middle school ages, to the high school wrestlers in Cadet and Juvenile to the open aged grappling divisions.
On the mats, the vaunted Alberni Wrestling Program did not disappoint the hometown fans.
EJ Dunn Middle School won both the boys and the girls School Age (12-14 year olds) divisions in convincing fashion with Neill Middle School coming in second in the School Boys division.
ADSS won the Cadet Girls ( 15-16 year olds) with Ucluelet finishing second and Penticton third.
In the Cadet Boys ADSS were fourth behind WJ Mouat, Guildford Park and Abbotsford Traditional.
In the Juvenile Divisions (17-18 year olds) ADSS was third in boys behind WJ Mouat and Carson Graham and fourth in the girls behind Carson, Maple Ridge and Cowichan.
In the overall club standings the Alberni Valley Wrestling Club had 292 points.
Second place Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club at 141 points.
The Campbell River Club were third.
Individually, Alberni wrestlers captured 29 medals, 11 of them gold and finished with 49 top six placings.
Gold medal winners in School Age were Seth Price (36 kilogram Neill), Matt Grimston (61 kg Dunn), Summer Wass (49 kg Dunn) and Morgan Dagenais (53 kg Dunn).
In the Cadet Age group, ADSS wrestlers Dean Leyland (70 kg) , Remi Wells (54 kg), Michel Kurucz (60 kg) and Micaela Dick (69 kg) were all champions in the weight classes.
ADSS wrestlers Jesse Wagner (51 kg), Nolan Badovinac (74 kg) and Jordie Bodnar (43 kg) took first in the Juvenile weights.
In the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestlers, EJ Dunn’s Morgan Dagenais was named the Most Outstanding School Girl at the Invitational
Remi Wells of ADSS meanwhile was named the Most Outstanding Cadet Girl.
“All of our gold medalists had an outstanding tournament but Morgan and Remi certainly stood out,” said coach James Messenger.
“They really rose to the challenge and had tough opponents to beat in their finals.”
Alberni wrestling had another 10 wrestlers in the finals Saturday who came away with silver medals.
School Age silvers went to Owen Spencer (36 kg Neill), Isaac McDonald (40 kg Dunn), Aaron Badovinac (56 kg Dunn), Queenie Zhang (53 kg Dunn) and Grace Deutsch (66 kg Dunn).
ADSS had two Cadet silvers in Eryk McKenzie (70 kg) and Julia McGowan (69 kg).
In the Juvenile Division, ADSS wrestlers Jordan Wagner (54 kg), Jonothan Spencer (74 kg) and Christian Anderson (90 kg) were all second.
Bronze medalists for Alberni wrestlers were Kenji Boyko (SB 32 kg Neill), Braeden Reynolds (SB 36 kg Dunn), McKenzie Bourdeau (SG 35 kg Dunn), Kiarra Charlesworth (SG 47 kg Neill), Kalissa Mongomery (SG 44 kg Dunn), Isabella Jones (SAG 66 kg Neill), Sheldon Haddad (Juv 63 kg ADSS) and Elise Huffman (Juv 69 kg ADSS).
Coach Chris Bodnar of ADSS was particularly proud of Haddad’s bronze. “Sheldon has worked so hard this year and he deserved to be in the medals at a very tough weight class at 63 kg Juvenile Men,” Bodnar said. “He is in Grade 12 and has stuck with it when others would have given up.”
Also placing in the top six for the locals in School Age ….. Trevor Barker (SB 32 kg fourth Dunn) , Austin Lambert (fourth 49 kg SB Dunn), Scott Coulthart ( fourth 52 kg SB Neill), Daniel Spencer (fourth 56 kg SB Neill), Jace Clayton (fourth 73 kg SB Dunn), Tella Johnson (fourth 47 kg SG Neill), Max Dame ( SB 32 kg fifth, Dunn), Reg David (fifth 36 kg SB Dunn), Trenton Vanderkooi (fifth 73 kg SB Dunn) and Kyla Anderson (fifth 53 kg SG Dunn).
For ADSS in Cadet and Juvenile the other placers were …. Jarred Beckett ( fourth 48 kg CB), Russell David (fourth 57 kg JB), Johannes Kulich (fifth 70 kg CB). Lauren Barker ( fifth 54 kg CG), Ravi Manhas (SB 32 kg sixth Dunn), Ben Salitter (sixth 84 kg CB), Corrine Angus (sixth 47 kg CG), David Wilson (sixth 60 kg JB) and Kayden Tardiff ( sixth 70 kg JB).
One new twist at the Invitational this year was having the registration and weigh-in at the new ADSS.
“We wanted to show case our new school to the rest of the wrestling fraternity,” McEvay said.
With the 30th Invitational now over the local wrestling program turns its attention to final preparations for the Island Secondary School Championships in Ucluelet this weekend. The Islands are a grade 8-12 competition so for most of the Dunn and Neill wrestlers the competitive season is now over.
For those wrestlers in Grades 8-12 who the coaches feel are ready for the next level the Islands are the qualifying event for the BC’s in Duncan Feb. 28 to March 2.
Heading into the Islands ADSS is the defending team champion in both the boys and girls divisions.
Ucluelet Secondary are set to give ADSS a battle in the girls division while Esquimalt will challenge ADSS in the boys. The ADSS boys have won the Island title 29 of the past 35 years. The ADSS girls have won the Island team championship 12 times in the 18 years.