A strong contingent of Alberni wrestlers travelled to Abbotsford on Saturday to compete in the annual Abby Invitational, an elite tournament that hosted the first matches of the season for most of the Alberni squad. The athletes did not disappoint.
A small group of middle school wrestlers were selected to make the trip and all impressed the coaches with strong performances. AW Neill wrestler, Scott Coulthart, earned a silver medal in the tough 66kg School Boy division. EJ Dunn School Boy athlete Darien Van Ingen placed 6th at 41kg while Jayce Clayton battled hard to win a silver medal at 78kg.
“We have a strong young group of wrestlers developing through our middle school programs right now and we are encouraged by these early results,” ADSS head coach John McDonald said.
ADSS wrestlers proved that they will be a strong force again this season. The team was led by a gold medal performance from team captain Nolan Badovinac at 84kg. Badovinac is coming off a season marred by injuries that did not allow him to compete at last year’s BC’s. He has worked hard in the off season and appears ready to dominate the high school scene this year.
ADSS senior Russell David captured a silver medal in a tough 57kg Juvenile division. David won gold last summer at the North American Indigenous Games in Regina. Bronze medals in Abbotsford were earned by Johannes Kulich at 70kg, Emma McGowan at 64kg and Isaac McDonald at 48kg. Rounding off the top six placers were Shane Leeper, 5th at 54kg, Jarred Beckett, 5th at 63kg, Morgan Dagenais, 6th at 57kg, and Daniel Spencer, 6th at 66kg.
Travelling with the team, but not competing, were injured wrestlers Michel Kurucz and Aaron Badovinac.
“Both Michel and Aaron impressed me with their sportsmanship and dedication to the team. Our Alberni wrestlers continue the tradition of excellence both on and off the mat,” said Alberni club coach, Chris Bodnar. “We are looking forward to another great season.”
All Alberni wrestlers will be in action next weekend, competing at the Cougar Invitational Wrestling Tournament in Cowichan Valley. For any information about the season schedule or how you can support our athletes, please visit www.alberniwrestling.ca.