Wrestlers’ versatility on display at nationals

Although they don’t usually compete in Greco-Roman wrestling, it turns out that the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club includes some of Canada’s best young athletes in that discipline.

The CVWC typically competes in freestyle wrestling, which is much more common in Canada, but at the national championships in Guelph, Ont., last weekend, six of the club’s top competitors tried their hands at Greco-Roman wrestling.

“It’s not something they’re used to,” head coach Nick Zuback said. “It makes them think a bit differently.”

Unlike freestyle, Greco-Roman wrestling is contested strictly from a standing position, and wrestlers can’t touch each other’s legs. The CVWC wrestlers were quick to adapt, however.

Kayden Dorma won silver at 54kg, while Jeevan Sall claimed bronze in the heavyweight division. Jimmy Wyld finished just outside the medals in fourth place in the 63kg division, and Nolan Mitchell was fifth at 50kg.

Molly O’Donnell made national wrestling history by winning the first-ever female Greco-Roman match at the Canadian championships, and went on to finish fifth at 56kg.

The 10 wrestlers also made their marks in the freestyle events, with several top-eight finishes. The highest placement went to Olive Kiruiro, who won gold in her weight class, although she was the only entrant.

“She was disappointed, because she really wanted to wrestle,” Zuback said. “Hopefully next year will be different for her.”

Sall placed fourth in the boys 115kg class.

“He wrestled really well,” Zuback said. “He’ll be back in that weight class next year, and he left with a lot of experience for next year.”

Morris placed fifth in the girls 46kg division, moving up a weight class from provincials.

“She didn’t look out of place,” Zuback said of the promising ninth-grader. “Fifth place is pretty impressive.

Also finishing in the top eight of their respective classes were O’Donnell, Mitchell, Wyld, Chelsea Warke and Kayden Dorma. Ryan Kuruvita and Aydan Claus rounded out the Cowichan contingent.