Another successful Alberni Armada Wrestling Invitational has come to an end.
The 37th annual Invitational was held at Alberni District Secondary School on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Port Alberni’s Juvenile Boys (grades 11/12) placed second overall, led by the gold medal performances of Seth Price (70kg) and Scott Coulthart (110kg). Conner Alexander (90kg) earned silver, while Duncan McLeod (54kg) placed third.
Armada coach John McDonald was pleased with the results, especially since ADSS is missing one of its top Juvenile wrestlers. Grade 12 Owen Spencer, ranked in the top two in his weight class provincially, was not able to wrestle last weekend.
“If anything, things seemed to go in our favour,” said McDonald. “The home town advantage did play out this weekend, a little bit. I think it excites our kids, rather than putting pressure on them.”
One of the most hotly contested matches of the weekend was in the juvenile boys 70kg category, where Alberni’s Seth Price won the gold medal by decision (7-4) over Maple Ridge’s Ryan Hicks. Hicks was last year’s provincial champion.
“[Price] looks really strong moving forward,” McDonald said.
In the Juvenile Girls category, Paige Maher (69kg) and Miranda Barker (90kg) took home gold medals. McDonald said that Barker has been performing especially well in the latter half of the season.
“She seems to be peaking at just the right time,” he added.
In the Cadet division (Grades 9/10), Alberni’s Evan McLeod (45kg) and Duncan Richardson (90kg) both earned silver. A few school age wrestlers (Grades 7/8) also took home medals, with Grant Coulthart (98kg) and Kelcie Sam (38kg) placing second, and Nickolas Cross (41kg) and Alex McKenzie (54kg) placing third.
James Messenger, one of the co-chairs of the Invitational, said that the event went smoothly from a hosting perspective.
“I had another coach tell me that this is the best run tournament year after year,” Messenger said. “We’re really proud of our wrestling group here.”
He was especially impressed with all the volunteer time put in by students and parents, as many wrestlers stayed behind on both days to help clean the venue.
“It’s hard not to be happy when you see this,” he added.
Alberni wrestlers will be headed to Nanaimo next weekend for zone qualifiers, followed by the provincial championships in Langley.
“Probably the majority of our kids will qualify,” said McDonald. “We definitely are in contention to win a combined [boys and girls] provincial title. We think we have a very good chance.”