Julia Doehler of George Bonner competes in the junior girls 59-63kg class at the Cougar Invitational meet last weekend. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Local wrestlers dominate Cougar Invitational

Results representative of sport’s growth in Cowichan Valley

Both in terms of overall numbers and final results, local wrestlers dominated the Cougar Invitational hosted by the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club at Frances Kelsey Secondary School last Saturday.

Just short of half the field — 80 of 162 athletes — came from Cowichan Valley schools, and local schools ended up on top of all the age-group standings.

“I was pretty stoked when I saw the numbers,” CVWC head coach Nick Zuback said. “Wrestling is growing here and thriving, as we saw with the results.”

Queen of Angels School topped the junior and elementary standings, and Cowichan Secondary finished first in the senior division. Chemainus Elementary was third in elementary; École Cobble Hill and Quamichan were fourth and seventh, respectively, in the junior standings; and Kelsey and Duncan Christian placed fourth and eighth, respectively, in the senior division.

Among the standouts in the elementary boys division were second-year wrestlers Benjamin and Elijah Cote. The brothers from Chemainus are both on the small side, Zuback noted, but bring a lot of effort to the mat. Benjamin finished first in the 24-26kg class, and Elijah took gold in 38-41kg.

“He’s a little workhorse,” the coach said of Benjamin, but he could have been talking about Elijah. “He’s one of our tiniest wrestlers, but he has a heart of gold. He just goes, goes, goes. You couldn’t ask for much more from a kid.”

Other elementary boys results:

24-26kg: Vince Genilla (Q of A) – third

26-27kg: Gilles Dalton-Pereira (Q of A) – first

30-31kg: Brayden Zuback (Q of A) – first, Kian Shelley (Queen Margaret’s School) – third, Cameron Caswell (Q of A) – fourth

32-35kg: Jimmy Duncan (Q of A) – second

36-37kg: Brodie Brennan-McCann (Q of A) – second, Ronan McGeachy (Mount Prevost) – fourth, Chase Acton (Q of A) – fifth

38-41kg: Deo Toth (Q of A) – second, Tyrell Currie (Tansor) – third

41-45kg: Jacob Meiner (Maple Bay) – second, Paul Clark (Alex Aitken) – third, Keaton Woods (Alex Aitken) – fourth

45-48kg: Darevyn Curnow (Q of A) – fourth

48-52kg: Manny Iannidinardo (Cobble Hill) – first, Wyland Dumont (Q of A) – second

57-62kg: Isaac Giles (Q of A) – second, Joshua Joe (Q of A) – fourth, Farren Aeichele (Tansor) – fifth

Q of A’s Beth Quinn was among the stars in the elementary female division, winning the 29-30kg class.

“She’s a firecracker,” Zuback said of the second-year wrestler. “She’s not very big, but she’s like a bulldozer. She just runs into girls, knocks them down and pins them. Beth’s a machine.”

Local wrestlers took the too four spots in that class, with Lucy Healey (Chemainus), Riley Carroll (Drinkwater) and Noelle Klatt (Cobble Hill) coming in behind Quinn.

Other elementary girls results:

35-37kg:

Ruby De Graaf (Q of A) – first, Jordana Crawford (Q of A) – second, Koa Rodier (Q of A) – third

39-41kg: Seren Elkiw of (Q of A) – first, Beatrix Klatt of (Cobble Hill) – second

44-45kg: Malia Sandhu (Q of A) – first, Melody Hodge (Lake Cowichan) – second

49-54kg: Sedona Bond (Q of A) – first, Brooklyn Gray (Q of A) – second

Katelyn Doherty’s first-place finish for Duncan Christian in the 34-38kg class was a highlight of the junior girls division.

“There were some tough girls in her class,” Zuback noted. “She’s so focused. Right from when she’s shaking hands [before a match], she comes with a plan; she’s playing it out in her mind.”

Other junior girls results:

44-46kg: Sophie Rose (Q of A) – second

47-52kg: Indira Klatt (Cobble Hill) – first, Annika Michaluk (Q of A) – second

54-56kg: Loryn Roberts (Q of A) – first, Cassidy Pace (Q of A) – second

59-63kg: Georgia Bond (Q of A) – first, Julia Doehler (George Bonner) – second, Lucetta Wilson (Q of A) – fourth, Philo Wilson (Q of A) – fifth

71kg: Charlotte Aeichele (Quam) – first, Emma Greenwood (Crofton) – second

Jacob Fraser of École Cobble Hill was the youngest wrestler in the junior boys 62-65kg class, but that didn’t stop him from placing first.

“The two boys in his weight class both placed at Islands last year,” Zuback said. “He beat them with strength, technique and basically all around. He’ll be one to watch, for sure. His size and technique are off the charts right now.”

Other junior boys results:

37-38kg: Nathan Cyr (Alex Aitken) – first

38-42kg: Carter Zuback (Q of A) – second, Ross Meiner (Alex Aitken) – third

44-47kg: Joaquim Dalton-Pereira (Q of A) – first, Antonio Iannidinardo (Cobble Hill) – second, Cameron Healey (Chemainus El) – third

49-51kg: Nathan Purslow (Bench) – fifth

53-54kg: Connor Gregson (Quam) – first

56-57kg: Dylan Acton (Q of A) – third, Noah Dash (Chemainus Sec) – fourth, Ryan Curnow (Q of A) – fifth

67kg: Ethan Mellings (Q of A) – first, Grady Berg of Q of A – second, Max Jimmy (Q of A) – third

82-90kg: Gabriel Carreiro (Kelsey) – second

Hayley Bye-Pace was sidelined with injuries and illness to start the year, but got into form just in time to win the senior girls 58-64kg class, edging out Cowichan Secondary teammate Miaya Brownbridge.

“She just got back on the mat the week before,” Zuback said of Bye-Pace. “She didn’t miss a step. She’s in Grade 12, so it was nice to finish her final Cougar Invitational with a first-place finish.”

Other senior girls results:

49-53kg: Charlie Roberts (QMS) – second

68-72kg: Nadja Schwarz (Cow High) – second

91kg: Chloe Foster (Kelsey) – first, Jessica Nakahara (Ladysmith) – second

Duncan Christian’s Aiden Dyer-Price got the season off to a good start by winning the senior boys 64-68 class.

“He looked really good this weekend,” Zuback said. “He was just a step ahead of his opponents. He took them down with ease.”

Other senior boys results:

54-60kg: Josh Isaac (Kelsey) – second, Mattias Zachary (Cow High) – fourth

58-63kg: Talon Hird (Cow High) – first, Ashton Combdon (Cow High) – second, Dylan Battye (Cow High) – third

65-71kg: Dawson Jory (Cow High) – second

The CVWC is taking 25 wrestlers to Burnaby this weekend for the War on the Floor meet.

“It will be a top-notch tournament,” Zuback said. “To win it will take a lot from a wrestler.”

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Sedona Bond looks to turn Brooklyn Gray in an elementary girls 49-54kg battle between Q of A wrestlers at the Cougar Invitational last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Q of A’s Brayden Zuback takes on a Southgate wrestler in an elementary boys 30-31kg match at the Cougar Invitational meet last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Sisters Lucetta and Philo Wilson of Queen of Angels square off in a junior girls 59-63kg match at the Cougar Invitational meet last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

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