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Young Port Alberni wrestlers shine at tournaments

Alberni finished first in the junior division and second in the senior division in Duncan
The ADSS wrestling team poses for a photo at Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The Alberni District Secondary School wrestling team’s up and comers are having a strong start to the season.

Wrestlers from ADSS travelled to Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan on Saturday, Dec. 10 for their first competition of the season. Alberni finished first in the junior division (Grade 8 and 9) and second in the senior division (Grade 10 to 12).

Three veteran wrestlers led the team by example, claiming gold medals in their respective weight classes. Alex McKenzie (59 kg boys), Carter Duperron (80 kg boys) and Grant Coulthart (115 kg boys) went undefeated on Saturday. Also placing in the senior division was Sage Dziekan-Gwilt (second place for 72 kg girls), Kelcie Sam (fourth place for 50 kg girls) and Chase Klus-Brown (fifth place for 67 kg boys).

“Carter Duperron had an exciting come-from-behind win by pin to remain undefeated,” said ADSS coach Maureen Miller. “Alex McKenzie and Grant Coulthart were pretty dominant in their weight classes. I am happy with how our seniors performed for the first tournament of the season. With so many junior wrestlers coming up, we really need our seniors to model hard work and commitment.”

Alberni had 11 wrestlers place in the junior division to claim the title. Nolan Cross (42 kg boys), Jordyn George (45 kg girls), Danika Currie (53 kg girls), and Gavin Fong (51 kg boys) all finished second, dropping only a single match each. Marcus Newton (third place for 42 kg boys), Kelly Sam (third place for 68 kg girls), Grady Miller (third place for 58 kg boys), Tanner Evans (third place for 71 kg boys) and Kane Olsen (fourth place for 42 kg boys) rounded out the placings for Alberni.

“It was good to see how we looked in competition,” said ADSS coach Travis Cross. “There are some things we did well and some things I know we can work on over the next month before some of our bigger competitions. In addition to the matches, I am also looking forward to the team heading on some road trips and getting to bond together as a group. Wrestling is hard work, so having opportunities to connect as a team and have some fun is important too.”

Four members of the Alberni Valley Wrestling Club also travelled to an elite club tournament in Burnaby on Sunday (Dec. 11). The SFU War On the Floor Elite featured wrestlers from the top clubs in BC and Alberta. Club coach Owen Coulthart organized for a small group of athletes to compete in the tournament to help gauge how they stacked up against some of Canada’s best.

“Having your first two tournaments of the season in two consecutive days definitely a tough go,” said Coulthart. “It was important the kids competed as part of ADSS at the Island Schools Tournament and we wanted to get this club opportunity too.”

The competition was tough. Sage Dziekan-Gwilt wrestled a tough opponent out of Cochrane, Alberta and finished second at 73 kilograms. Grant Coulthart finished fourth at 125 kilograms. Tristen Beaudry, Alex McKenzie and Danika Currie also wanted to challenge themselves with the elite tournament, but finished out of the placings.

The next major tournament for Alberni Valley Wrestling Club members will be the Western Canadian Age Class in Richmond on January 21 and 22.