About 120 young wrestlers descended on George Bonner Elementary School last Friday for the annual Cowichan Valley Elementary Play Down.
École Cobble Hill boasted the largest contingent of the 12 schools represented, with 46 athletes on hand. Other sizable groups came from Bonner and Queen of Angels School, and most of the participants from other schools were members of the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club, which coordinated the meet.
CVWC head coach Nick Zuback is hoping to increase participation from other schools in the future.
“We’re looking at how we can do that moving forward for the schools,” he said.
Wrestlers were grouped by weight class, and with grades 3-5 in one division and 6 and 7 in the other. They were also ranked by ability as determined by teachers at their schools.
“If it’s a really strong wrestler, we ask them to rank them a four,” Zuback explained. “If they’re a new, less-experienced wrestler, we rank them a two.”
Ones and twos competed against each other, and threes and fours were put together.
Zuback was pleased to see many first-time competitors in action, and hopes the wrestlers keep pursuing the sport.
“All the kids had a great time,” he said. “For some of them, it was their first time on a podium, getting a medal. I think it meant a lot to them.”
Senior wrestlers from the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club volunteered for the event as scorekeepers and officials, inspiring the younger athletes along the way.
“It was good to see them giving back there,” Zuback said.