Wrestlers face off at Miri Piri in Abbotsford

Wrestlers impress visiting coach Russell Fersch at Abbotsford tournament.

Grade 12s Lauren Barker (in red) and Remi Wells

Alberni wrestlers made quite the impression on guest coach Russell Fersch this past weekend competing at the eighth annual Miri Piri Wrestling Club Championships in Abbotsford.

Fersch, the former Saskatchewan provincial coach, has been in Port Alberni working with the athletes as a clinician for the past three weeks.

“As a coach, it was awesome to see the kids execute the new moves just introduced this week,” Fersch said.

“Usually it takes time to transfer new techniques and strategies from practice to the actual match, but several wrestlers were incorporating new moves in their matches today,” commented Fersch.

Fifteen Alberni athletes competed this weekend and all finished in the top five of their respective weight classes.  EJ Dunn wrestler Jayce Clayton finished second in the 78kg School Boy Division while AW Neill’s Owen Spencer won the 45kg weight class in the same division.  ADSS Cadet (grade 9/10) results included silver medals from Daniel Spencer at 63kg, Trevor Barker at 41kg and Trenton Vanderkooi at 110kg. Shane Leeper, wrestling at 54kg and teammate Ravi Manhas, 35kg, earned bronze medals. Cadet female Morgan Dagenais wrestled well securing a 5th place finish in a tough 54kg weight class.

ADSS Juvenile (Grade 11/12) results included a gold medal from senior Nolan Badovinac at 84kg as well as a pair of  silver medals from Emma McGowan at 65kg and Remi Wells at 57kg.  Johannes Kulich, 66kg, and Lauren Barker, 57kg, both showed tremendous gains in their skill level, earning bronze medals. Jarred Beckett added valuable team points finishing 4th in an extremely competitive 63kg weight class.  Grade 9 wrestler Aaron Badovinac wrestled up a division and captured 5th in the Juvenile 66kg weight class.

“At every practice and every match over the last couple of weeks, I have seen growth in the athletes. It makes the time and energy the coaches are putting into the athletes very rewarding and fulfilling,” stated coach Fersch.

ADSS coach Chris Bodnar echoed Fersch’s sentiments.  “It was a great tournament, a huge success.  All our athletes met or exceeded our expectations.  They have all shown huge improvement over the course of this season and, with some individual fine-tuning, we are sure to have a very successful finish to the season.”

Alberni wrestlers practice this week in preparation for the Campbell River Invite next Saturday followed by the Island Championships in Duncan February 13 and 14th.  The team will finish the season at the Provincial Championships in Abbotsford February 26-28th.

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