Alberni Wrestlers Outstanding at National Championships

Post date: Apr 17, 2012 4:10:48 PM

Alberni Wrestlers Outstanding at National Championships

Five wrestlers of the Alberni Valley Wrestling Club travelled to Fredericton to compete in the 2012 Cadet/Juvenile National Championships this past weekend. They were joined by coaches James Messenger and Chris Bodnar and pairing master Richelle McKenzie. The club’s results were outstanding with all five wrestlers finishing in the top six in Canada.

Grade 12 wrestler, finished Daley Forbes finished her high school wrestling career in style winning the gold medal and the title of National Champion for the third straight year. Competing in the 75 kilogram Juvenile (17 & 18 year olds) Girls Division, Daley was dominant throughout the competition. This was the fourth year in a row that Daley was in the National Championship finals.

“Daley has been a very reliable performer for our wrestling team. She demonstrated that once again this weekend. Her consistency is a testament to the fact that regardless of the tournament, regardless of her opponent, she sticks to her game plan and wrestles for the positions she needs to be in. It isn’t the flashiest wrestling style out there but it certainly caught the attention of some of the university coaches who were in Fredericton recruiting members for their varsity programs. At this point Daley isn’t sure what she will do next year but we are all hopeful that she will continue to pursue both her education and wrestling.” commented coach James Messenger.

Fredericton was the first trip to the National Championships for Grade 9 wrestler Nolan Badovinac. Badovinac did not let his inexperience show as he went undefeated to claim the title in the 72 kilogram Cadet (15 & 16 year olds) Boys Division.

When asked about Nolan’s gold medal performance Coach Chris Bodnar had this to say, “Nolan has had a very successful Grade 9 season. He obviously had an outstanding National tournament and was extremely dominant this weekend. Many people are surprised to hear that he is so successful as a Grade 9. No one who spends any time around our wrestling program is surprised. Yes, he is talented but he also works very, very hard. He never misses a practices, never misses a run, and doesn’t shy away from wrestling with tougher, more experienced training partners. It all came together for him at the Nationals and we couldn’t be happier for him. ”

Grade 12 wrestler Connor McDonald wrestled at his best to finish fourth in the Juvenile Men’s 82 kilogram Division. “Connor wrestled the best tournament of his life.” commented Messenger. “He showed up to compete and didn’t let the level of competition intimidate him. He scrambled well and finished takedowns better than I have ever seen him do. I am really proud of how he did and how he finished his high school career.”

Grade 10 wrestlers and twin brothers Jordan Wagner (5th Cadet Men 54 kilograms) and Jesse Wagner (6th Cadet Men 50 kilograms) found themselves in two of the toughest Cadet weight classes of the tournament. They each won multiple matches against tough opponents but a couple of hard fought losses resulted in them being held out of the medal rounds.

Coach Messenger reflected, “Obviously I am proud with how are wrestlers performed at the Nationals. Going into the tournament I had hoped that we might be able to get 3 or 4 placers. Having all 5 of our wrestlers place was an outstanding way to finish the season. Once again our athletes did our program and our community proud on the national stage. Believe me, anyone involved in wrestling in Canada knows about Port Alberni and our wrestling program.”

Nationals is the official end of the competitive season for the local wrestlers. Now the focus turns to fundraising and preparing for next year. In addition to fundraising another big part of prepping for next year is taking some time away from the mats. Coach Messenger commented further, “I strongly believe kids at this age will be better athletes if they do multiple sports. I really encourage our kids to get involved with other sports in the offseason. Go play rugby, go out for track, lacrosse, ball or play golf. Whatever it is, be active. A break from the mats is a good thing but I don’t want them sitting on the couch.”

Another focus for the local club and their supporters is a three week trip to Europe this summer. Forty people leave Port Alberni on July 26th and fly to Prague in the Czech Republic. The group will visit Munich Germany, Saltzburg and Innsbruck Austria, St. Moritz and Zurich Switzerland, Vaduz Liechstenstein and Paris France before finishing their tour in London during the Olympic Summer Games. The group returns on August 13th. More information will be released later on this exciting tour.

The most immediate event coming up for local wrestlers is their Annual Awards Night Thursday April 26th 7 pm at the Italian Hall. Wrestlers, their families, and all supporters are encouraged to make plans to attend. Clearly the Alberni Wrestling Program has much to celebrate.