Defending provincial champion Loryn Roberts led Queen Margaret’s School to the team title at the Vancouver Island high school wrestling championships in Ucluelet last week.
Roberts, who won her class in the last B.C. provincial meet two years ago, dominated the 64kg girls class at the 2022 Island meet, and was one of three QMS girls to come home with gold medals.
“She’s the reigning provincial champ, and she’s on the path to do so again,” said Nick Zuback, the head coach at both QMS and the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club. “She won all her matches easily.”
Other QMS wrestlers bringing home gold in the first year the school has fielded a team were Sabina Weber in the 57kg class and Phoenix Skailes at 90kg.
“She showed a lot of skill and power,” Zuback said of Skailes. “Her rugby skills transferred over into wrestling and helped her a lot.”
Rose Wu didn’t bring home gold, but made a statement as she went 3-1 to finish second in the 51kg class.
“She lost to the silver medallist from the last provincials,” Zuback pointed out. “We’re looking for big things from her at provincials.”
QMS also got bronze medals from Georgia Bond at 60kg, Sedona Bond at 64kg and Savanna Screaton at 69kg. Other CVWC female athletes to bring home medals were Frances Kelsey’s Ruby De Graaf (gold in 43kg), Ladysmith Secondary’s Jessica Nakahara (gold at 90+kg) and Chemainus Secondary’s Emma Greenwood (silver at 64kg).
On the boys side at the Island meet, Joaquin Dalton-Pereira didn’t concede a single point as he won the 48kg class and led Duncan Christian School to the team title.
“He was second [at provincials] last time, and his goal is to win provincials this year,” Zuback commented.
DCS also got a gold medal from Darren Doherty in the 70kg class and silver from Aiden Dyer-Price at 84kg.
QMS and Quamichan School tied for fifth place in the boys standings.
Leon Tsuboi won gold for QMS in the 38kg class, showing his progress by “decimating” the wrestler who beat him for gold at the CVWC’s Cougar Invitational in December.
“He’s been putting the work in and it’s paying off,” Zuback said.
Other QMS boys to qualify for provincials included Jacob Meiner (fourth at 57kg), Ehmber Shelly (fourth at 60kg) and Jake Armstrong (fifth at 70kg).
Quamichan’s Ross Meiner won gold in the 60kg class, one of the toughest weight classes on the boys side.
“It’s the best tournament I’ve seen him wrestle, and I think he’s been with the club for five years,” Zuback said. “His focus was there and it showed in the finals.”
Other gold medallists from the CVWC included Nanaimo Christian’s Elijah Cote 45kg, Chemainus Secondary’s Cameron Healey at 54kg, and Queen of Angels’ Carter Zuback at 51kg.
“He didn’t give up a point,”coach Zuback noted. “He’s trying to dial himself in for his first provincials.”
Kelsey’s Antonio Iannidinardo finished second in the tough 66kg weight class as a Grade 8 up against much older wrestlers.
“He battled with the defending Island champ,” Zuback said. “He didn’t get the outcome he wanted but he did score points on him, so that’s positive.”
Also from Kelsey, Gabe Carriero finished second at 110kg and Jacob Fraser was third at 74kg.
Rounding out the CVWC provincial qualifiers, Bryan Wade of St. John’s Academy was third at 48kg and Nicholas Wade of Cowichan Secondary placed third at 66kg.
“I was very pleased with all the wrestlers,” Zuback said. “It was a big tournament and they came out and left it on the mats. It was great to see.”
A total of 25 wrestlers from the Cowichan club qualified to compete at the B.C. championships, one of the club’s largest such groups.
“It’s right up there,” Zuback said. “It’s probably one of the biggest groups we’ve had for provincials.”