In their final meet before hosting the Island championships this week, high school wrestlers from the Cowichan Valley had a phenomenal showing at the Alberni Invitational last weekend.
Queen of Angels School finished first in the school-age girls division and second in the school-age boys division, and Cowichan Secondary School placed second in the juvenile girls division.
Q of A wrestler Charlie Roberts, a defending provincial champion, won the cadet girls 75kg class, and was also named the Most Valuable Wrestler in the cadet girls division.
“She had a good tournament,” Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club head coach Nick Zuback said. “She wrestled really well. She’s getting ready for Islands and provincials and hoping to repeat.”
Zuback took 41 wrestlers to the meet, and they made 29 finals, winning 16 gold medals.
“They always do a good job up there hosting,” Zuback commented. “The kids had a great time, and the parents who came up to cheer had great things to say.”
Charlie Roberts’s younger sister, Loryn, was also among the gold medallists, taking first for Q of A in the school girls 51kg class, where Cassidy Pace, also from Q of A, finished third.
“Any of the girls in the top six could have won,” Zuback said of that age class. “There were a lot of good battles.”
Also in the school girls division, Cowichan wrestlers swept the top three spots in the 38-39kg class, with Sophie Rose (Q of A) in first, followed by Indira Klatt (Cobble Hill) and Sedona Bond (Q of A). Katelyn Doherty (Duncan Christian) and Georgia Bond (Q of A) both placed second, in the 33-35kg and 52-55kg classes, respectively.
The school boys division had several champions as well, including Ross Meiner (Alex Aitken), who topped the 36-37kg class just ahead of Nathan Cyr (Aitken), with Tristan de Cunha (Mount Prevost) in fifth.
“He had some really good matches on his route to capturing gold,” Zuback said of Meiner.
Antonio Iannidinardo (Cobble Hill) won the 38-39kg class and also finished sixth in the 40-42 class behind Rory Brennan-McCann (Q of A), who placed third.
“He keeps working his tail off in practice,” Zuback said of Iannidinardo. “And it’s really paying off for him.”
Connor Gregson (Quamichan) won the 51kg class, where Farren Aiechele (Prevost) placed fourth.
“He’s in Grade 8,” Zuback noted of Gregson. “So he’s getting ready for his first Island championship and hoping to qualify for provincials. His work ethic is paying off, so hopefully he’lll be able to do that.”
Brayden Zuback (Q of A) won the 25-27kg class, followed by Mason Martin (Tansor) in second. Carter Zuback (Q of A) topped the 32-25kg class, with Brody Brennan-McCann (Q of A) in fourth and Elijah Cote (Chemainus) in fifth. Travis Cowan (Bench) finished first at 45-46kg and second at 43-45kg. Grady Berg (Discovery) won the 53-54kg class. Jacob Fraser (Cobble Hill) won the 58-61kg class, with Dayton Mersh (Bench) in third. Darren Doherty (Duncan Christian) was second at 48-49kg, and Gabe Carrerio (Bench) was fourth at 64-67kg.
In addition to Charlie Roberts’s win in the cadet girls 47kg class, Chloe Foster (Quamichan) won the 75kg class, and Nadja Schwarz (Quamichan) finished second at 69kg, followed by Charlotte Aeichele (Prevost) in fifth.
Mattias Zachary (Cowichan Secondary) won the cadet boys 48kg division.
“He’s had a good year,” Zuback commented. “He’s had a lot of top four finishes, but he hasn’t hit first place, so that was good to see. I know he was pretty proud of himself.”
Aiden Dyer-Price won the 63kg class, and didn’t give up a point all tournament. Ashton Combdon (Cow High) and Luther Tidder (Chemainus) took first in the 60kg and 110kg classes, respectively, and Lyle Samson (Q of A) and Dylan Battye (Quamichan) were fourth and fifth at 54kg.
Cowichan Secondary wrestlers showed extremely well in the juvenile divisions, as Hayley Bye-Pace won the girls 57kg class, and Miaya Brownbridge and Stephanie Mould finished second at 60kg and 64kg, respectively. Talon Hird won the boys 57kg class and Dawson Jory was second at 70kg.
The Island championships will take place this Friday and Saturday at Chemainus Secondary School, going from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. About 100 wrestlers are expected to compete, including about 25 from Cowichan Valley schools, trying to qualify for provincials in Langley.
“I think a lot of them will have really good chances [to qualify],” Zuback said. “A few will have to battle it out and earn spots. If they leave it all on the mat, it could be a good outcome for everyone.”