Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club head coach Nick Zuback isn’t used to cheering on his athletes from the stands, but that was the case at the BC Summer Games in Abbotsford last month, where four wrestlers from the club represented Vancouver Island under the watch of other coaches.
Zuback was impressed with what he saw as his wrestlers won a combined five medals. Andrea Morris and Stephanie Mould won individual gold in the girls 51kg and 54kg classes, respectively, and Khaya MacKillop and Talon Hird took bronze in the girls 64kg and boys 45kg classes, respectively.
Altogether, the Valley contingent helped the Island team finish first in the team competition.
“I was really pleased,” Zuback said. “Two gold medals and two bronze medals. You can’t complain about that.”
It actually came down to the final match to decide which team won gold, with Morris squaring off against the wrestler who beat her at the provincial high school championships earlier this year.
“The whole crowd was screaming, ‘Andrea! Andrea!’” Zuback recalled. “She did excellent on her part. For her to win something like that for the club and the Island is huge.”
Zuback wasn’t sure if Morris knew that the fate of the Island team rested on her shoulders in that match, but she was aware that it would determine first place in the 51kg class.
“She knew it was a big match for her, because it was for gold in her division,” he said.
If she didn’t know beforehand how big it was, she found out pretty soon after.
“The whole team came out and mobbed her,” Zuback reported. “They were jumping up and down and excited.”
Mould swept her way through two matches to win gold in the 54kg class.
“I don’t think the girls scored any points on her, so that was good to see,” Zuback said.
Hird, who won the provincial high school championship in his weight class, was under the weather with food poisoning, and his first match was against a high school champ from a different weight class. He lost that one, but won his next two to take bronze. MacKillop lost only one of her three matches as she also claimed bronze.
“It was a great showing for the club,” Zuback said. “I was very pleased with the results.”