Seven members of the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club, including five first-timers, qualified for the national championships with strong performances at the Alberni Invitational last weekend.
Ryan Kuruvita, Jeevan Sall, Jimmy Wyld, Aydan Claus and Olive Kiruiro earned their first trips to nationals, while Chelsea Warke and Molly O’Donnell qualified to return to the big stage. They join Nolan Mitchell and Andrea Morris, who had qualified previously.
It bodes well not only for the present but also the future of the club.
“It’s exciting for our club, for sure,” CVWC head coach Nick Zuback said. “All the kids who have qualified are coming back next year, too. None of them are in their last year, so that’s one good thing to see.”
Kuruvita (Cowichan Secondary) finished second in the cadet boys 60kg division, while Claus (Frances Kelsey) placed second at 74kg. Morris (Queen of Angels) placed first in the cadet girls 47kg division, and Warke (Kelsey) wrestled to third at 51kg.
In the juvenile men’s division, Mitchell (Claremont) was first at 51kg, Sall (Cow High) was second at 110kg, and Wyld (Cow High) was third at 60kg. Kiruiro (Kelsey) placed third in the juvenile women’s 90kg class.
Also in the cadet boys division were Kayden Dorma (Kelsey), who placed fifth at 54kg; and Haele Fergusa (Cow High), who was fifth at 66kg. Rayne Hankins (Cow High) finished second in the cadet girls 69kg class, and Owen Pite (Cow High) was sixth in the juvenile men’s 66kg class.
CVWC athletes also performed well in the school age divisions. Jaqueline Wong-
Bates (Q of A) led the way with a first-place finish in the school girls 52kg class, while Sarah Gillard (Drinkwater) was second at 39kg, and Sydney Hall (Q of A) was fourth at 31kg.
The top school boys finishers were Antonio Diaz (Q of A) and Aslan Farbaud (Bench), who placed third at 37kg and 35kg, respectively. Farbaud performed well despite being bumped up an age level.
“He could have wrestled at the elementary level, but he wanted to go for a medal as opposed to just practice,” Zuback said.
Placing fifth in their respective classes were Talon Hird (Q of A) at 30kg, Stephan Esquivel (Q of A) at 47kg, Daniel Wanner (Q of A) at 50kg, and Aiden Tuplin (Q of A) at 54 kg. Sixth-place results went to Christopher Gaw (Bench) at 35kg, Rowan Gillard (Drinkwater) at 44kg, and Kyle Holden (Kelsey) at 47kg.
About 20 wrestlers from the club will head to Saltspring Island this Saturday for the Island championships.