The Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club is sending its largest contingent ever to the national wrestling championships in Edmonton this weekend.
Ten wrestlers — Hannah Tuplin, Ashton Combdon, Stephanie Mould, Miaya Brownbridge, Luther Tidder, Dawson Jory, Emily Reid, Hayley Bye-Pace, Talon Hird and Steven Guo — have qualified for the national meet, and have made the trip along with coaches Nick Zuback, Ryan Yewchin and Eric Anderson.
The team expects to reach the podium at the big meet.
“Our whole goal is to bring some hardware back,” Zuback said.
It’s familiar territory for Tuplin, who won two national championships in cadet and wants to go out a winner as a juvenile in her Grade 12 year. Mould placed second in her class as a cadet last year, and this year wants to medal at nationals and earn a berth on the national team for the FILA cadet world championships.
The top eight in each age class qualify for FILA trials, which take place on Sunday: five juveniles (under 19) and three cadets (under 17), although Grade 12 wrestlers like Tuplin and Guo are not eligible. The first-place wrestler at the trials makes the national team for the world championships, and the second-place finisher will be the alternate.
Wrestlers who don’t qualify for FILA trials, will compete in Greco-Roman championships, also on Sunday. Guo won a national title in the Greco-Roman competition last year.
Zuback is optimistic that his team will do well in Edmonton.
“We’ve had a good four weeks of practicing hard,” he said. “We want them to push past the limits. That’s what they’re going to see there.”
The CVWC recently held a fundraiser to help get the wrestlers to Edmonton, and Zuback expressed his gratitude to the many businesses that supported the event.