Alberni Valley wrestlers dominated at the Vancouver Island Secondary Schools Wrestling Championships in Port Hardy on the weekend.
The Alberni District Secondary School boys team won the Island title for a record 24th time in the past 28 years while the ADSS girls team was second overall, edged out of first place by Nanaimo’s Dover Secondary. EJ Dunn Middle School’s teams were impressive with a third place finish in the boys division and fifth in the girls division.
Individually, ADSS had eight gold medalists crowned as Island champions in 2011: Jesse Wagner (45 kg), Jordan Wagner (48 kg), Austin Evans (57 kg), Jonathan Spencer (63 kg), Cullen Hines (74 kg), Isaiah Taylor (84 kg) and Christian Anderson (110 kg) in the boys division and Rhea Wing (43 kg) on the girls side.
Sheldon Haddad (57 kg), Nolan Badovinac (Dunn 70 kg), Bailey Durning (60 kg) and Brianne Charles (64 kg) all claimed silver medals in their respective weight classes.
Eleven Alberni wrestlers rounded out the medal count, bringing home bronze medals in their respective weight classes; Russell David (Dunn 51 kg), Eryk McKenzie (Dunn 54 kg), Dean Leyland (Dunn 57 kg), Johannes Kulich (Neill 60 kg), Austin Jaworski (ADSS 66 kg), Riley Neville (ADSS 90 kg), Remi Wells (Dunn 47 kg), Isabella Larsen (ADSS 54 kg), Michelle Kurcz (Dunn 57 kg), Emma Vanderlee (Dunn 64 kg) and Samantha Anderson (ADSS 90 kg).
Dakota Sutton (4th ADSS 60 kg), Cole Walton ( 4th ADSS 84 kg), Lauren Barker (4th Dunn 47 kg), Elaina Todd (4th ADSS 51 kg) and Janelle Beckett ( 4th ADSS 54 kg) also finished in the top 6.
Returning two time BC Champion Jordie Bodnar was unable to wrestle for ADSS on the girls side due to an injury but she was petitioned to the BC’s because of her past achievements.
“Overall I am very happy with how we performed at the Island Championships,” ADSS head coach John McDonald said. “We expected the boys to walk away with the team title. I will be honest, it was a little disappointing that we could not pull off the double crown. The girls came close but an injury and a couple of upsets prevented that.”
When asked about EJ Dunn Middle School’s impressive third and fifth place finish Coach Russ Bodnar was all smiles. “Awesome. Our Grade 8s did awesome today. To come and compete at the Island High School Championships is a victory in itself. To come and have the success we did is more than we could ask for. There were a number of notable performances but I have to comment on what Nolan Badovinac (2nd at 70kg) did. It is not uncommon for middle school wrestlers to place at the Islands at lighter weights. To come in here and take second at 70 kilograms is unbelievable. Nolan upset a ranked Grade 12 wrestler in the semi finals. Most of the other Island coaches could believe he was just in Grade 8. Nolan is just one of the many Grade 8s who are going to make the ADSS team even stronger next year. I am excited about what the future has in store.”
Those wrestlers who have now qualified will be preparing for the BC Secondary Schools Wrestling Championships in Abbotsford February 24-26. A small group of local wrestlers will be selected to attend the National Cadet/Juvenile Championships in Windsor Ontario April 7-10.
— Alberni Wrestling