Alberni wrestler Owen Spencer (in red) attempts to pin an opponent during a match on the mainland last weekend. WILSON WONG PHOTO

Alberni wrestlers start the new year on the right foot

Alberni wrestlers compete at Wild Cat Wrestling Tournament and Duke’s Cup Dual

Many students would have liked to be at home showing their school pride at Totem last weekend, but the Armada Wrestling team travelled to the mainland to get valuable matches in.

On Friday, Jan. 11 they competed at the Wild Cat Wrestling Tournament hosted by Burnaby Central, and on Saturday, Jan. 12 they combined with Campbell River and Cowichan to make up an all-star team to compete in the Duke’s Cup Dual meet tournament on Saturday.

Friday saw some great wrestling against some tough opponents. Evan McLeod (38kg), Jayce Clayton (90kg) and Mackenzie Boudreau (75kg) all went undefeated to claim gold medals in their respective weight classes. Owen Spencer (66kg), Bobby Mckenzie (45kg) and Mason Bodnar (90kg) all captured silver medals. Scot Coulthart (90kg) and Seth Price (63kg), both lost only one match en route to taking home bronze medals. Rounding out the placings for the Armada were Miranda Barker in fourth (90kg) and Darrien Van Ingen (57kg) and Duncan McLeod (54kg) each capturing 5th place overall.

“This was a great way to start the new year,” said Armada coach Chris Bodnar on Friday. “We have a short season and to get tough competition right away will prepare us for the rest of the year. Some of our best kids competed against competition that they will meet later in the year at the provincial championships. We got to gauge ourselves on where we are provincially and look at what we need to work on over the next eight weeks before the championships in Langley.”

On Saturday, the Armada was part of an all-star dual meet team representing Vancouver Island wrestling against three other all-star teams from the Lower Mainland. The Duke’s Cup was sponsored by the Armed Forces and hosted in the Vancouver Armoury. The Island team had three dual meets and went undefeated, walking away with the overall championship.

“Combining with Cowichan and Campbell River enabled our kids to be a part of a team that normally we compete against,” said Armada coach Russ Bodnar. “The friendships and relationships that were developed this weekend will be remembered for a long time. The Armada portion of the Island team wrestled incredibly well. Some of our kids were asked to wrestle up a weight class against bigger opponents in order to help the team. They stepped up and helped the team win the cup. It was great to see.”

The Armada wrestlers are now in the main part of their season, wrestling every weekend until the provincial championships later in February. Next weekend they will be in Campbell River. The Armada will be hosting the Alberni Invitational held at ADSS on Feb. 1 and 2.

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