The Alberni Wrestling Club and ADSS sent ten high school aged athletes to Windsor, Ontario to compete in the 2017 National Wrestling Championships April 7-9. The three days of competition were actually comprised of several different tournaments in the Cadet (15-16 yrs) and Juvenile (17-18 yrs) age categories. After the final whistle, nine local wrestlers had top six placings and four came home with medals to once again put Port Alberni on the national wrestling map.
Friday was day one and saw men’s freestyle, Saturday showcased men’s United World Wrestling Cadet trials and women’s freestyle, and Sunday hosted women’s UWW Cadet trials and Greco Roman wrestling for men and women. Over 800 athletes from all over Canada competed in this prestigious event.
On day one, Alberni had eight men competing in various weight classes. Leading the way in a very thorough 33 man, 69kg bracket was grade 11 juvenile, Aaron Badovinac. The BC high school champion affirmed his high status with a national silver medal. Badovinac’s only loss came to defending champion from Ontario, Adam Scott.
“Aaron wrestled extremely well,” said head coach John McDonald. “He started the day with a good draw and then capitalized on his opportunities to earn his way into the final.”
Fellow grade 11 BC medalist Ravi Manhas was also well-prepared for his opportunity in Windsor. Manhas battled hard and earned a silver medal in the 46kg juvenile men’s class.
“I am very pleased with Ravi’s consistent performance all season long, ” stated McDonald. “He has wrestled well and met every challenge when he needed to. His silver in the National freestyle competition puts an exclamation point on a great season for Ravi.”
Alberni had two other athletes place top six in their respective freestyle weight classes. Grade 9 cadet Owen Spencer finished 6th in the 58kg weight class, as did grade 10 cadet Jayce Clayton in the 84 kg weight class.
“Both Owen and Jayce exemplified the strength and depth of our team,” said coach Jeannette Badovinac. “These young men showed they are ready to compete with the best. Our coaching staff is very excited as these athletes are part of a team that is in the hunt for a provincial title next year in Alberni.”
On day two, Badovinac and Manhas both competed in the UWW Cadet trials trying to earn a spot on the Canadian National team for the World Cadets this summer. The international Cadet ages add one more year and comprise ages 15 – 17 or grades 9-11. Both locals battled hard and ended the day in fourth place at 69 kg and 46 kg respectively.
The women took center stage on day two. Veteran grade 12 Morgan Dagenais wrestled tough in the 60kg Juvenile division but did not place. Grade 10 Cadet Mackenzie Boudreau wrestled in her first national tournament and gained valuable experience.
“Both Morgan and Mackenzie had tough draws and put everything they had into their bouts,” said Badovinac. “I’m extremely proud of the grit each of the girls showed and of how well they conducted themselves throughout the weekend.”
The final day of competition showcased Greco Roman wrestling. Greco Roman is a style of wrestling that involves only upper body and is not a style that high school athletes train in. For the majority of athletes across Canada, the national tournament is their first experience with this style. Seven Alberni athletes competed and had great success in this style.
Grade 11 Isaac McDonald battled his way to the Greco final at 58 kg, winning a silver medal in the Juvenile division. This silver at Greco was redemption for the young McDonald after illness prevented him from medalling in the freestyle division on Friday. Fellow Grade 11 Daniel Spencer finished with a bronze medal in the 76 kg weight class.
“Daniel had a great Greco tournament. He adjusted extremely well to this style of wrestling and used his strength to his advantage,” commented coach McDonald.
Manhas had another good result with his fourth place finish in the 46kg division. Manhas was the only local wrestler to place in every event . Grade 12s Trenton Vanderkooi (100kg) and Lane Harris (85kg) both had 5th place finishes and Morgan Dagenais earned 6th place in the 60kg women’s Greco division.
“It was really nice to see our grade 12s finish their high school careers on a great note. The hard work and dedication put in by these athletes on the mats this year was evident in their results,” said coach McDonald.
The National tournament marks the end of the competitive season for the majority of wrestlers, but a select few will continue to train as members of Team BC in preparation for the Canada Summer Games and the North American Indigenous Games this summer.
Tuesday, April 18th is ADSS and Alberni Wrestling’s annual awards night. It is a free, after dinner event that celebrates the hard work put in by all involved. If you would like tickets, please contact John McDonald at ADSS at email@example.com or Tom McEvay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April marks the beginning of a busy fundraising season for our athletes. If you would like to support our wrestlers or would like more information, please visit our website: www.alberniwrestling.ca.