Seven athletes from ADSS and the Alberni Wrestling club travelled to the National Cadet/Juvenile Championships April 15–17 in Calgary, AB.
The Cadet age group is for wrestlers 15-16 yrs of age or grade 9 and 10 while Juvenile is 17-18 yrs of age or grades 11-12. Coaches John McDonald and Jeannette Badovinac were selected to take the team while local coach and pairing-master Richelle McKenzie was there to work the draw.
With a rich Alberni Wrestling history at the nationals behind them, our local athletes performed very well in Calgary. In the end, Alberni had 6 athletes place in the various divisions at the three day tournament.
Top Alberni performer of the weekend was Grade 10 wrestler Isaac McDonald. On the first day, in the freestyle 54kg Cadet Division, McDonald captured a silver medal. He battled his way to the finals, winning three matches and then a close semi-final match. In the final McDonald fell to a very tough Josh Piette-Walton of Ontario.
Aaron Badovinac, a returning national Cadet silver medalist, ran into some tough competition in the 69kg Cadet Division. Badovinac won two but also lost two very close matches in the prelims to the eventual silver and bronze medal winners. His second lost unfortunately put him out of the Top 6 placings.
Head coach John McDonald commented on how well the boys wrestled. “In the case of Aaron, if you were to wrestle that weight again tomorrow you might end up with a totally different result. At the national level for high school athletes the top kids are all good. It is about who is on that day.
“In the case of Isaac, he was on that day and wrestled extremely well defeating provincial placers and medalists enroute to the final.”
In the second day of competition McDonald wrestled in the National FILA Cadet team trials. This tournament is open to the Top 3 placers from the National Cadet Division and the top first year Juvenile wrestlers. McDonald again wrestled well, earning second place in the tournament and claimed the alternate position to the Cadet World FILA Championships to be held Sept 13-18 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The third day of competition saw the Cadet FILA trials for the girls and the Greco-Roman competition for both boys and girls with many Alberni athletes having success. Leading the way on this day was Badovinac taking second place in the 69kg Cadet FILA Greco division. Badovinac’s only loss was a controversial decision awarded to Alberta wrestler Adam Thompson on a 5-5 tie.
Ravi Manhas and Morgan Dagenais returned home with third place finishes in the Greco tournament.
Manhas, coming off a bronze medal performance at the Provincial Freestyle Championships and at his first national championship, proved he can compete in this style of wrestling.
Also at her first nationals, Dagenais showed she is ready to compete on the national stage earning a third place finish in the 56kg Juvenile women division.
(Story continues below)
Kiarra Fong wrestled her way to a fifth place finish in the Cadet FILA Team trials at 52kg’s. Daniel Spencer posted a sixth place finish the 76kg FILA Cadet Greco competition.
Also wrestling in the tournament was Grade 9 Cadet Jayce Clayton. Clayton was competing with a recurring back injury that impeded his ability to perform his best. He gained valuable experience by participating in the tournament and will use this knowledge to compete at a high level in the future.
“The individual results of this tournament are something to be proud of, however, our emphasis is on teaching our athletes to compete at a high level,” coaches Jeannette Badovinac and John McDonald both said.
“All of our athletes learned something about competing at this level over the weekend. Everyone has to deal with all sorts of adversity and pressure as a part of competition. Their ability to stay focused during these moments is what will take them the next level.
“We have a very young team this year who will see lots more success in the future.”
The Alberni Armada wrestlers will celebrate their year of success at the annual awards night Thursday, May 5 at 6:45 p.m. at the Italian Hall.
Tickets are free and can be picked up at ADSS.