Cole Robinson wrestles at the Cougar Invitational in Cowichan. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Alberni wrestlers start the season strong

Alberni compete at War on the Floor, Cougar Invitational

Port Alberni wrestlers wrestled well at the annual War on the Floor Wrestling Tournament at Pinetree Secondary in Coquitlam.

The local program took a strong group over for the Grade 8-12 Novice events on Friday and the Elite category on Saturday and they didn’t disappoint. Alberni wrestlers captured five gold, two silver and three bronze medals and had another five wrestlers place in the top six at this very prestigious mainland event. Teams came from all over the province, as well as two teams from Alberta.

The ADSS boys walked away with the title in the Elite Boys division. Unfortunately, team results for the Novice Tournament were not available at press time.

“Scott Coulthart had a huge come-from-behind to upset the number one seeded returning provincial champion,” explained Coach Russ Bodnar. “Our senior wrestlers have definitely shown themselves to be some of the strongest in the province”

On Friday, Grade 8 wrestlers showed their promise with Grant Coulthart (90kg) taking gold, Alex McKenzie (51kg) taking silver, and Jax Robinson (54kg) taking bronze. Grant Coulthart also competed in the Grade 9-10 division, finishing fourth. Grade 10 wrestler Cole Robinson (74kg) went undefeated to win gold, and rounding out the top six were Andrew Audet (84kg) in fourth, Conner Alexander (90kg) in fourth and Duncan Richardson (90kg) in sixth.

“The best part of this tournament is that it shows us early in our season what technical strengths and the things we need to work on to prepare for provincials,” said Coach Richelle McKenzie. “If we are not winning, we are learning and sometimes we are doing both”

Saturday morning wrestlers weighed in to compete in the War On the Floor Elite Tournament. The Elite Tournament is always a highly competitive tournament, featuring some of the best wrestlers in Western Canada.

Alberni had a number of very strong performances and the ADSS boys won the Boy’s Team Title over Cowichan Valley. The Armada were led by the dominating performances of Scott Couthart (110kg), Seth Price (70kg) and Paige Maher (69kg), all going undefeated to win gold.

“Some of the senior weights were even tougher than what the provincial championship will be with the inclusion of the teams from Alberta,” said ADSS Head Coach John McDonald. “This level of competition will serve well for the ADSS wrestlers later in the season.”

Owen Spencer (66kg) lost a hard-fought final match to claim the silver medal in the elite tournament. Bobby McKenzie (51kg) and Conner Alexander had strong finishes, both winning bronze. Mason Bodnar (fourth at 110kg) and Evan McLeod (fifth at 45kg) also placed in the top six in the very competitive Elite Tournament.

Wrestlers from Alberni District Secondary School also travelled to Cowichan to compete in the Cougar Invitational earlier this month. The tournament featured wrestlers from all over the Island and Alberni had a strong start to the competitive season. Although they were missing a few notable provincial placers from the previous season, ADSS finished second in both the Senior Division and Junior Division

The local squads continue practices over the holidays but their next competition isn’t until after the Christmas break, returning to some dual meet action January 11, 2020 at the BC Regiment Drill Hall on the base for the second Annual Duke of Connaught’s Own Cup.

Some wrestlers will likely head to Christmas camps in the lower mainland and the Island in preparation for a very busy January and February. The annual Alberni Invitational is scheduled for January 31 – February 1 this season.

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