Eight Alberni Wrestling athletes and their coaches are in Saskatoon this week to compete in the National Cadet and Juvenile Wrestling championships.
Nolan Badovinac, Eryk McKenzie, Dean Leyland, Remi Wells and Michel Kurucz will compete in cadets. Jonathan Spencer, Jesse and Jordan Wagner will compete in juvenile.
Badovinac is a returning national champion, head coach James Messenger said.
Jesse and Jordan Wagner have previously placed at the nationals (Jordan in fifth and Jesse in sixth in their respective weight classes last year).
The rest of the wrestlers are competing at nationals for the first time. Messenger is confident all Alberni wrestlers will have a good week in Saskatoon.
“Even those students for whom it’s their first trip, I’m sure they will be competitive,” he said.
They all had to place at the Western Canadian Age Class competition to qualify for the nationals.
“They’ve all been working incredibly hard,” Messenger said; all the wrestlers practiced over Easter and during spring break at two different camps.
“It’s sometimes hard after the high school season to push yourself through, but these guys have been working very hard.
“It’s definitely a dedicated group…all of them are very giving of their service, whether it’s coaching younger athletes or helping out at fundraisers,” he added.
“They represent the best of the best…”
Two students from Ucluelet are also travelling with the Port Alberni team.