Alex McKenzie (left) and Grant Coulthart competed in the U17 and U19 Canadian Wrestling Championships. (SUBMITTED PHOTOS)

Alex McKenzie (left) and Grant Coulthart competed in the U17 and U19 Canadian Wrestling Championships. (SUBMITTED PHOTOS)

Port Alberni high school wrestlers compete on national stage

Grant Coulthart and Alex McKenzie compete at National Championships

Two Port Alberni wrestlers have made an impact at the national level.

Grade 10 athletes Grant Coulthart and Alex McKenzie travelled with their parents to compete in the U17 and U19 National Championships in Calgary, Alberta on June 9-12.

McKenzie faced a tough group of 12 wrestlers in the U17 60kg weight class and McKenzie wrestled with a new confidence that came from the extra training that both wrestlers had the opportunity to attend with a Cowichan team over the last 12 weeks. He was able to pull off a win in the dying seconds of his last match, placing him fifth in Roman Greco.

Coach Owen Coulthart said that he couldn’t be prouder of McKenzie’s dedication and newfound confidence. The experience, he added, is going to be a positive asset to his development moving into the Juvenile Division for his Grade 11 and 12 seasons.

Grant Coulthart arrived in Calgary to find that he would not have competition in the U17 125kg weight class, automatically making him the gold medal champion in both freestyle and Greco classes.

Training partners were a challenge, as Coulthart did not have any other heavy weights on the island this season. Wrestling Canada granted three exhibition matches in the U19 125kg weight class, where Grant performed and showed his development through a variety of training opportunities (including trips to Cowichan). Grant won two matches by pin with his only loss to the new 2022 U19 125 kg champion from Takedown Academy in the Lower Mainland.

Moving forward, coaches and wrestlers will take a bit of a break before training begins for the BC Summer Games in Prince George, July 21-24. Twenty-two wrestlers from the Island were selected to travel to the games. The team will include seven Port Alberni wrestlers: Evan McLeod, Grant Coulthart, Alex McKenzie, Sage Dziekan-Gwilt, Kelsie Sam, Janna Hiltz, and Danika Currie. The Island Summer Games Team will also be coached by two Alberni coaches: Owen Coulthart and Emma Doskotch.

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