The Alberni Armada Wrestling Invitational is ready to go again, bigger and better. The 34th Annual Alberni Armada Invitational Wrestling Tournament runs Feb. 3–4 in the ADSS gyms.
In an effort to connect more closely with their roots at the high school the Invitational was moved back to ADSS in 2015 and it proved a great success the past two years.
The Alberni Invitational is widely considered the most prestigious high school wrestling tournament in B.C. and has received recognition across Canada, says tournament co-chair Tom McEvay. The tournament started in 1980 and has run every year except the four years the local wrestling group hosted the BC High School Championships. “That means 38 straight years that this dedicated group of volunteers have run a major wrestling tournament in the Alberni Valley.”
The event was held at the old ADSS from 1982 to 1994 before moving to Glenwood in 1995 and then the Multiplex in 2003 as it got so large.
“We are extremely proud of the history and traditions our wrestling program has established over the past 38 years. No other wrestling program in BC can boast that they have run 38 major tournaments and many would be happy to have done it once,” said McEvay, who co-chairs the tournament with Mike Roberts from ADSS.
“This is our 34th Invitational to go along with four provincials and it only happens because of the amazing volunteer spirit in our community.”
McEvay continued, “Since this is another milestone year for us we are calling on all alumni to come back and celebrate with us. Come and take in the action, support our current wrestlers, join us for some socializing and visit the incredible Alberni District Secondary School. We are very excited to showcase our local wrestlers at ADSS as this is their program.”
Action at the 34th Invitational begins on Friday, Feb. 3 with morning weigh-ins for boys and girls in the Cadet and Juvenile divisions at 9 a.m. at ADSS. At 10 a.m. Friday there will be a dual meet between the ADSS wrestling team and Winston Churchill High School of Calgary. Churchill is one of the top high school teams in Alberta so this will be a great challenge.
The two teams will do battle for the ceremonial “McEvay Post”.
In the second gym Vancouver College will wrestling Calgary’s Western Canada High School in a dual meet. The public is welcome at these matchups but seats will be limited as the ADSS student body will pack the ADSS gym to support their team.
Official opening ceremonies for the Invitational are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. Tournament action gets underway at 2 p.m. and runs to at least 8:30 p.m. that evening, all at ADSS. Organizers expect the exciting semi-finals to start around 7 p.m. Friday evening. There is no gate cost.
The Alberni Invitational tournament action will start again Saturday, Feb. 4 at 8:30 a.m. with preliminaries continuing until at about 10:30 a.m. From about 10:30 a.m. to noon will be matches for fifth and sixth as well as third and fourth places in each weight class.
Finals are scheduled to start close to 12:30 p.m. and will run until close to 4 p.m. Again on Saturday admission is free but space will be limited.
Not only do local fans have an opportunity to watch some great competition at the Invitational, they will once again see competitive Alberni wrestlers. ADSS still has a young team but they are considered one of the top teams in B.C. this year, McEvay and Roberts said, particularly after winning the overall title at the Western Canada Age Class in Kamloops earlier this month.
The ADSS program has been building both strong boys and girls teams ready to peak in 2018 when ADSS hosts the 2018 BC Secondary Schools Championships next year in the Multiplex.
This season the ADSS Boys Juvenile (Grades 11/12) and Cadet (Grades 9/10) teams are both currently ranked in the top 3 in the province going into this event. They will likely battle it out with more than 50 other schools for the team titles in these age divisions.
These teams could include Guildford Park of Surrey, Carson Graham, Vancouver College, WJ Mouat, St Thomas Moore and Island powers Cowichan, Esquimalt and Campbell River.
The ADSS girls look to be strong in the Cadet and School Age categories with Ucluelet Secondary also coming with a strong girls team. Together the combined ADSS boys and girls teams could be the class of the field.