If results from last weekend’s War on the Floor meet in Burnaby are any indication — and history shows that they are — then Cowichan Secondary School is a contender for a provincial wrestling championship this year.
Cow High finished second of 89 school teams in the elite competition at the prestigious meet, trailing Alberni District Secondary by 14 points. With one wrestler injured and another who didn’t make the trip, things could have been even closer.
“It gives you kind of an idea of where everyone stands,” Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club head coach Nick Zuback said. “There aren’t many tournaments where Grades 8-12 are wrestling in the same categories.
“A couple more athletes and we’d be right in contention.”
Talon Hird and Miaya Brownbridge won their respective weight classes for Cow High, Hird in the male 57kg class and Brownbridge in the female 60kg class.
Hird is chasing a fifth-straight provincial championship, and made it known in Burnaby that he is the favourite again this year.
“He’s showing the province that he’s still first, and he’s staying first,” Zuback said. “He looked strong and quick and as good as ever.”
Brownbridge has plenty of second-, third-, and fourth-place results on her resume, so it was exciting for her to add gold from War on the Floor.
“This was a tournament to showcase her talents,” Zuback said. “When she won gold, that was a remarkable moment for her and her team.”
Ashton Combdon wrestled to a second-place finish in the tough male 63kg class.
“War on the Floor has always been a tough tournament for him over the years,” Zuback noted. “He was focused, ready to go, and he stuck to the game plan. It was a tough final. Second in your weight class, particularly at that tournament, is pretty good.”
Other wrestlers to place for Cow High included Nadja Schwarz at second in female 69kg, Dawson Jory at fourth in male 70kg, and Hayley Bye-Pace at sixth in female 64kg.
Cow High wasn’t the only local school making noise at the War on the Floor, as Frances Kelsey finished 15th and Queen of Angels placed 16th.
Chloe Foster topped the female 75kg class for Kelsey, while Josh Isaac was fifth in the male 60kg class.
“She’s coming into her own,” Zuback said of Foster. “She used to be tentative, but you can see her confidence improving.”
A Grade 6 student at Q of A and not yet old enough to compete at provincials, Cassidy Pace beat wrestlers much older than her to take second in the female 54kg class.
“A Grade 6 beating a Grade 12 is pretty remarkable,” Zuback pointed out. “That’s six years of age, development and growth. It’s a big feat to accomplish.”
Other top finishers for Q of A included Carter Zuback at first in male 38kg; and Loryn Roberts at fifth in female 57kg.
Rounding out the top-six finishers from the CVWC were Charlie Roberts of Queen Margaret’s School at fourth in female 51kg, Emma Greenwood of Crofton Elementary at sixth in female 69kg, and Charlotte Aeichele of Mount Prevost at sixth in female 75kg.
The elite competition takes place on Saturday, following a day of novice wrestling. Novice entries who place in the top three of their classes are eligible to compete in the elite divisions the following day. Those qualifiers for the CVWC included Loryn Roberts (first in female 57kg), Cassidy Pace (first in female 54kg), Emma Greenwood (second in female 75kg), Charlotte Aeichele (third in female 75kg), Jacob Fraser (École Cobble Hill, first in male 63kg), Carter Zuback (second in male 38kg), Antonio Iannidinardo (Cobble Hill, second in male 48kg), and Grady Berg (Q of A, third in male 63kg) in the Grade 8 division, as well as Ethan Mellings (Q of A, third in male 66kg) in the Grade 9-12 division.
Spots are still open for the CVWC’s annual wrestling camp on Jan. 2 and 3. For more information, email Nick Zuback at email@example.com