The Alberni Valley Wrestling Club brought home four medals from the 2014 Cadet/Juvenile National Championships in Guelph, Ontario.
Alberni also placed third in the team standings in Juvenile Men’s Greco Roman Championships.
Grade 12 wrestlers Jesse and Jordan Wagner capped off their high school wrestling careers with medal winning performances at the meet.
Jesse won the bronze medal in the 54 kilogram Juvenile Men’s Division. Jesse’s only loss came from multiple national champion Phillip Le from Ontario in the semi-final. He took bronze medal after pinning his opponent in the semi-final.
Jordan finished fourth in the Juvenile Men’s 58 kilogram weight class in the freestyle tournament. Jordan was beaten by returning champ Nathan Galan, but scored two wins against other opponents to take the bronze.
Jesse also won silver in the Greco Roman event at the tournament at the event. “Greco Roman is a style of wrestling where you cannot attack or touch the legs below the waist,” coach James Messenger said.
In the gold medal final Jesse took an early lead but fell behind after getting penalized for a rule violation. “We don’t wrestle Greco much in our program but our wrestlers wanted to give it a try,” commented Alberni Coach James Messenger. “Jesse rose to the challenge and had some fun with the upper body moves.”
Jordan won a silver medal in the Greco Roman division. He dominated his opponents in his preliminary matches. In the final, he took an early lead but got caught in a turn that allowed his opponent to earn the win.
Alberni wrestler Michel Kurucz wrestled her way to a silver medal in the 56 kilogram division in Greco Roman. The tournament was the first time females competed in the style of wrestling. Known for her upper body throws, Michel’s wrestling style fit well with Greco.
The trip to Guelph was not without disappointment for Alberni. Two time national champion Nolan Badovinac was forced to withdraw from the tournament after sustaining a concussion in a preliminary match. Badovinac had just been cleared to wrestle after missing the majority of the season after sustaining a knee injury that required surgery.
“Nolan has faced a lot of adversity this season. He worked hard to rehab his knee and did everything he could to be prepared,” Cross said. “When you are talking about something as serious as a concussion we were not willing to take the risk.”
The Nationals brings an end to the Alberni club’s competitive season. The club’s focus now turns to active rest for athletes and fundraising for events next year. “Kids at this age will be better athletes if they do multiple sports,” Messenger said. “A break from the mats is a good thing but I don’t just want them sitting on the couch.”