Cowichan Secondary wrestlers Hayley Bye-Pace and Nadja Schwarz meet in the final of the 60kg girls division at the Island championships. (Don Bodger/Black Press)

Wrestlers set stage for historic provincials

Cow High girls win second straight Island title

A brilliant showing at last weekend’s Island championship meet has set the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club up for possibly a best-ever performance at provincials.

“Looking at numbers, I’m pegging this as a record year for us at the provincial championships,” said CVWC head coach Nick Zuback, whose club qualified more than two dozen athletes for provincials. “It looks promising for us to bring a lot of hardware back.”

The top five boys and top five girls in each age group qualify directly to provincials from regional meets. The Cowichan contingent at provincials will probably include seven or eight seeded wrestlers, those who are considered to be among the top four in the province.

“All the kids were amazing,” Zuback said. “They worked their butts off. You need to place high to qualify for provincials, and they all did the job.”

The Cowichan Secondary girls team repeated as Island champs, and Queen of Angels School finished second in the boys standings, even though the school only goes up to Grade 9 and most of the schools they were up against go up to Grade 12.

“I think we had nine or 10 boys [from Q of A] that ranked,” Zuback said. “It’s a good group of boys, and a number of them placed high for team points.”

Chemainus Secondary’s Hannah Tuplin won the female 54kg class and was voted by coaches as the Most Valuable Female Wrestler at the meet, something that tends to recognize achievements over an athlete’s entire high school career. Tuplin’s storied career includes two national championships and a provincial title, among many other achievements.

Among the club’s other standout performers was Luther Tiddler, a Grade 9 student at Chemainus Secondary in his first year of wrestling who won the male 130kg class. Tiddler and his opponent, Esquimalt’s Tyler Shaffer, almost went the distance in their match before Tiddler pinned Shaffer with about 30 seconds left.

“His final was a great battle, one of the most exciting matches of the tournament,” Zuback said. “It’ll be exciting to see if he can reach the top six at provincials. That would be great.”

Ashton Combdon dropped down to the 54kg weight class for the Island meet and continued to experience success as he won another gold.

“He looked really solid in his matches,” Zuback said.

Zuback’s goal for provincial meet in Port Alberni on March 1-3 is to reach double digits in medals, putting at least 10 wrestlers into the top six.

“I’d like to see Cowichan Secondary compete for the girls team title,” he said. “They’d have to be up there with some of the big schools, but they’ll be in contention for sure.”

Full list of CVWC provincial qualifiers:

Laura Nguyen (Cow High): first in female 51kg

Hannah Tuplin (Chemainus Sec.): first in female 54kg

Kaz Bannister (Chemainus Sec.): first in female 57kg

Hayley Bye-Pace (Cow High): first in female 60kg

Stephanie Mould (Cow High): first in female 64kg

Emily Reid (Chemainus Sec.): first in female heavyweight

Talon Hird (Cow High): first in male 51kg

Ashton Combdon (Q of A): first in male 54kg

Luther Tiddler (Chemainus Sec.): first in male 130kg

Nadja Schwarz (Cow High): second in female 60kg

Rosie Klatt-Leblanc (Chemainus Sec.): second in female 75kg

Mattias Zachary (Q of A): second in male 45kg

Dylan Battye (Q of A): second in male 48kg

Lyle Samson (Q of A): second in male 51kg

Dawson Jory (Cow High): second in male 66kg

Miaya Brownbridge (Cow High): third in female 64kg

Chloe Foster (Cow High): third in female 69kg

Easton Iverson (Q of A): third in male 45kg

Caleb Fraser (Frances Kelsey): third in male 63kg

Damian Blaney (Cowichan Sec.): third in male 66kg

Chloe Siddals (Chemainus Sec.): fourth in female 60kg

William Rithaler (Q of A): fourth in male 48kg

Aidan Dyer-Price (Q of A): fourth in male 60kg

Aidan Tuplin (Duncan Christian): fourth in male 63kg

Josh Isaac (Frances Kelsey): fifth in male 60kg

Steven Guo (Dover Bay) and Charlie Roberts (Q of A) qualified by petition.

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