Alberni Wrestlers Dominate at Age Class in Kamloops

Post date: Jan 14, 2013 9:49:17 PM

A large contingent of local wrestlers competed this past weekend at the Western Canadian Age Class Tournament in Kamloops and they did not fail to produce results. Twenty-nine Alberni wrestlers competed, twenty four placed and sixteen medaled at the prestigious Western Canada Age Class event which featured close to 500 wrestlers from BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

EJ Dunn led the Alberni team placing second in both boys and girls School Age divisions. Aaron Badovinac was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler in the School Age division after winning gold in the 55kg weight class. Adding to medal totals were Summer Wass, Trevor Barker (silver), Kalissa Montgomery, Morgan Dagenais, and Mathew Grimston (bronze). Other top six placers included Ravi Manhas (4th), Trenton Vanderkooi (4th), Queenie Zhang (4th), and Austin Patten (6th). Proud coach Andrew Edgell commented, "I was extremely impressed that all ten Dunn wrestlers in the competition placed in their respective weight classes. It shows promise for the future of Alberni wrestling."

Not to be outdone by their younger teammates, the ADSS Cadet boys took second overall and the Cadet girls took third overall. The ADSS group was led by two wrestlers who went undefeated to claim gold medals in their respective weight classes. In the Cadet division for ages 15 – 16 wrestler Nolan Badovinac claimed top spot in the 76 kilogram division and Micaela Dick followed suit in the 65 kilogram division. Other top performers included ADSS wrestlers Johannes Kulich (silver, 69 kg), Michel Kurucz (silver 60 kg), Dean Leyland (bronze 69 kg), Emma Vanderlee (bronze 70 kg), Remi Wells (bronze 56 kg), and Eryk McKenzie (4th 69 kg). Tyler Drew-Adams (100 kg), Lauren Barker (56 kg), and Jarred Beckett (50 kg) all had strong performances but finished out of the standings.

The ADSS Juvenile wrestlers placed second overall in the boys division due to outstanding performances by team captain Jonathan Spencer (second 76 kg), Jesse Wagner (second 54 kg), Jordan Wagner (third 54kg) and Russell David (third 50 kg). “We have come to expect the Wagners to do well, but Jono and Russell really stepped up their game this tournament,” stated coach Russell Bodnar. “Both wrestlers have been training hard so it’s great to see them getting the results they deserve.” In her first year of wrestling, Elise Huffman was the lone representative in the Juvenile girls division. Elise finished 6th in the 70 kg weight class. Wrestlers Sheldon Haddad, David Wilson and Kaden Tardif all had tough matches and battled hard, but finished out of the standings. “The committment of these young athletes is extraordinary,” stated ADSS coach Chris Bodnar. “Practice after practice these wrestlers grind to improve technique and conditioning and they are getting better each round they wrestle.”

ADSS coach Richelle McKenzie was pleased with the performance of the team in Kamloops. “Our wrestlers did well. This was a high level tournament and we had terrific results. I am especially impressed that the Alberni team finished top three in five out of six age divisions – it shows the depth of our programs!”

According to Alberni Wrestling coach James Messenger Age Class is an excellent tune up for the busy few months ahead. “We always want to take a large group to the Age Class,” said Messenger, “it provides us with an opportunity for great competition and it is also a great team builder. Road trips like this with several days away on the bus, in the hotel, and around the gym give our team an opportunity to do some team building. We have a great group of kids here and they were excellent ambassadors for our sport and city.”

The busy weeks ahead include 4 practices per week including an Island practice Thursday January 17th at ADSS, a Neill/Dunn dual meet this Wednesday the 16th at Neill, tournaments in Campbell River and Abbotsford then the Annual Alberni Invitational tournament at the Multiplex February 7-9. The season will continue with the Island Championships in Ucluelet February 15-16 and the BC High School Championships in Cowichan February 28-March 1. The season wraps up for some of the top wrestlers at the National Championships April 3-7 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Photographs courtesy of Chris Hines: