Cowichan wrestling club exceeds expectations in Alberni

Despite taking a smaller contingent than expected, the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club had a great showing in Port Alberni last week.

Despite taking a smaller contingent than expected, the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club had a great showing at the Port Alberni Invitational meet last week.

The club had planned to take 30 athletes to Alberni, but numbers were reduced for a variety of reasons, ranging from the flu to lacrosse tryouts. The 21 wrestlers who did make the trip excelled.

“They all wrestled every match to the best of their abilities and exceeded expectations,” CVWC head coach Nick Zuback said.

The Cowichan wrestlers were among about 500 at the meet, despite the snowy conditions that made it difficult for some teams to get to Port Alberni.

Among the standouts at the meet was Queen of Angels School wrestler Carter Zuback, who finished first in the school boys 28-31kg class.

“We bumped him up to school boy, which is Grades 6-8, even though he’s only in Grade 4,” coach Zuback said. “He competed against a Grade 6 and a Grade 7, and won both to get gold. It was probably the best he’s wrestled all year.”

Also from Q of A, Charlie Roberts finished first in the school girls 36-39kg class.

“She wrestled extremely well,” Zuback said. “She was up against a really tough wrestler in the final and ended up pinning her.”

Nadja Schwarz of Alex Aitken Elementary won the school girls 60-65kg class, edging out Q of A’s Chloe Foster.

“She’s made a lot of progress in her first year,” Zuback said of Schwarz. “We’re excited to see how she’s going to develop.”

Frazer Willmott of Frances Kelsey finished first in the school boys 50-51kg division. Zuback lauded his technical abilities.

“When I call out a move from his corner, he basically does it right away,” the coach said. “He’s learning from practice and transferring it over to his actual matches.”

Stephanie Mould of Cowichan Secondary won the cadet girls 54-57kg class and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler in the cadet girls division. Miaya Brownbridge, also from Cowichan Secondary, placed second in the cadet girls 64kg class, one of her best results this year.

“She’s starting to peak at a nice time of year,” Zuback said. “She’s had some tough results.”

Aidan Dyer-Price of Drinkwater Elementary found himself bumped up from school boy to cadet, and finished first in the 63kg class, winning the final in the last two seconds.

“It was probably one of the most exciting matches we’ve seen all year,” Zuback said.

Also in the cadet boys division, Talon Hird won the 48kg class.

Other results for the club included Hannah Tuplin of Chemainus Secondary finishing second and Andrea Morris of Cowichan Secondary placing third in the juvenile girls 54kg class.

Loryn Roberts of Q of A was second in the school girls 39-41kg class, and Rosie Klatt-Lablanc of Crofton Elementary was second in the 69-74kg class.

In the school boys division, Levi White of Mount Prevost was second and Levi Peters of Drinkwater finished third at 32kg, Paul Belcourt of Q of A was third at 39-41kg, and Damian Blaney of Drinkwater was fourth at 57-59kg.

Emily Reid of Chemainus finished third in the cadet girls 110kg class.

The CVWC athletes have this weekend off, then head to Esquimalt on Feb. 17-18 for the Island championships, with provincial qualifications on the line.

“Our goal is to qualify 15 to 20 wrestlers,” Zuback said. “I think the talent in our room is definitely capable of doing it.”