Wrestlers need to meet some pretty specific criteria to be eligible for the Island Novice meet, but there is enough young talent at the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club that the club had the largest contingent at the tournament in Port Alberni last weekend.
To qualify, wrestlers need to be in their first or second year of competition, and can’t have placed in the top three at Islands or provincials or won the novice tournament in the past. The CVWC was able to send 30 wrestlers to Port Alberni, where the Queen of Angels School team won the junior division and placed third in the senior division.
In the junior boys bracket, Carter Zuback (Q of A) won first place in the 30-34kg class, while Brody Brennan-McCann (Q of A) placed third.
“Carter wrestled extremely well in all his matches, giving up only two points overall,” head coach Nick Zuback commented.
The top three spots in the 35-37kg class were all claimed by CVWC wrestlers, with Ross Meiner (Q of A) first, Nathan Cyr (Alex Aitken) second and Tristan de Cunha (Mount Prevost) third.
“It was a battle back and forth,” Zuback said of the gold-medal final. “It was good to see two kids from our club competing at that level.”
Second place in the 38-41kg class went to Antonio Iannidinardo (Cobble Hill), with Joaquim Dalton-Periera (Q of A) third and Cameron Healey (Bench) sixth.
Rory Brennan-McCann (Q of A) discovered his perfect finishing move — wrist series to half nelson — as he won first at 42-46kg. Travis Cowan (Bench) placed third.
“Rory had a great tournament,” Zuback commented. “He dominated the weight class.”
The 47-51kg class saw another all-Cowichan showdown as Darren Doherty (Duncan Christian) edged Connor Gregson (Tansor). Noah Dash (Chemainus) was third.
“They battle in practice all the time,” Zuback said of Doherty and Gregson. “They pretty much did the same thing they do every practice. They went out there and left it all on the mat.”
Grady Berg (Discover) was third at 55-58kg, followed by Deyton Mersh (Bench) in fourth. Ethan Mellings (Q of A) was second at 58-63kg, and Benson Ames (Bench) was fourth. Gabe Carreiro (Bench) was third at 67-73kg.
In the junior girls division, the top three spots in the 37-39kg class went to Cowichan athletes: Sophie Rose and Sadona Bond (both Q of A), and Indira Klatt (Cobble Hill). The 49-53kg class saw Q of A sweep the top three spots: Loryn Roberts, Cassidy Pace and Georgia Bond, and George Bonner’s Julia Doehler in fifth.
“That was the toughest weight class for girls,” Zuback said. “There were some tough, tough young ladies.”
In the senior boys division, Matias Zachary (Q of A) was second at 45-58kg, Easton Iverson (Quamichan) was third at 51-56kg, and Josh Isaac (Frances Kelsey) got by Lyle Samson (Q of A) to win the 56-61kg class.
Elizabeth Reid (Chemainus Secondary) had only one opponent in the senior girls 81-89kg class, but was clearly the better wrestler on the day.
“She’s following in her sister [Emily]’s footsteps,” Zuback said. “She had some great matches with the other young lady and she dominated.”
Several of the club’s older wrestlers attended their first meet of the season a week earlier at Carson Graham Secondary in North Vancouver. The Cowichan girls, in particular, got off to a great start, combining to win nine of their 10 matches.
Nadja Schwarz, Charlie Roberts, Chloe Foster and Stephanie Mould each won all their matches, and Mould was named the meet’s top female wrestler. Hayley Bye-Pace won two of her three matches.
The boys’ side of the meet was done in a dual format, and that didn’t help the Cowichan club, which was missing wrestlers in a few weight classes. Talon Hird was the CVWC’s top performer, going 3-1.
“The kids still gained experience, I thought.”
The CVWC will host its annual Cougar Invitational meet this Saturday at Frances Kelsey Secondary from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.