The hard work put in consistently by Stephanie Mould paid off last weekend when the Queen of Angels student was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler in the junior girls division at the Western Canada Age Class Championships.
Mould won the 51kg weight class at the massive meet held in the Richmond Oval, and impressed the officials so much that she was named the best wrestler in her class — the first time a member of the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club has earned that award.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Mould said. “I didn’t even know they had an award like that.”
Mould believes it was her last match that locked up the honour.
“A lot of people said they were impressed with my final match, so I guess it was that match that made the difference,” she said. “It was a tough match, but I felt like I had a handle on it.”
Now in Grade 9, Mould has been wrestling with the club for about three years, and is hoping to go on to compete at the university level.
“I like the competition, trying out new moves, and meeting a lot of new people,” said Mould, who is also active in rowing, field hockey and cycling.
CVWC head coach Nick Zuback wouldn’t be surprised to see her succeed at a high level.
“She’s such a hard worker,” he said. “Every practice, she’s working her butt off. And she does extra stuff. She goes over to Vancouver once a week for elite practices at SFU. Her determination is right up there, next to none. I can see her winning a provincial championship one day and going on to wrestle for any post-secondary program she wants to.”
The 21 wrestlers from the Cowichan Valley who attended the meet were among about 1,000 from across Western Canada and the U.S. Mould was one of three Q of A wrestlers, along with Talon Hird in the school boys 45kg division and Hayley Bye-Pace in the school girls 60kg division, to win their respective weight classes as the Valley contingent performed remarkably well.
“Last year, I don’t think we had as good a showing,” said Zuback, who didn’t travel with the club to the 2015 meet. “Last year we had lots of injuries. It was a nightmare tournament last year; this year we had much better results.”
Christopher Gaw of Frances Kelsey placed second in the school boys 48kg class, and Rayne Hankins of CVOLC was second in the senior girls 75kg class. Andrea Morris of Cowichan Secondary finished third in the senior girls 51kg class, and Hannah Tuplin was third in the senior girls 54kg class, and Miaya Brownbridge of Cowichan Secondary placed fourth in the school girls 51kg class.
Q of A also managed three top-10 finishes in the team standings, placing sixth in the school girls and junior girls rankings, and ninth in the school boys rankings. Hankins also got CVOLC into ninth place in the senior girls standings.
The CVWC organized the elementary divisions at the meet, and took 12 wrestlers to that competition.
“Without exception, our kids showed they could grapple competitively with the best of them,” elementary coach Rick Bryan said. “Our veterans led the way with some extremely solid wrestling, and our rookies went toe-to-toe with very tough opponents, and didn’t back down.”
Chaas Mearns and Owen Mackenzie placed first in their respective Grade 6-7 boys divisions, Dylan Battye and Aidan Dyer-Price earned silver medals, and Nic Rota placed fifth. In the Grade 6-7 girls divisions, Charlie Roberts and Chloe Foster both finished second.
Loryn Roberts placed second in her Grade 4-5 girls division, and in the Grade 4-5 boys classes, Levi Peters finished second, Charlie Vincent was third, and Carter Zuback placed fourth.
After getting this weekend off, the CVWC will send about 20 wrestlers to the Port Alberni Invitational on Feb. 5 and 6, with the Island championships on Saltspring Island the following weekend.