Alberni Wrestling Club Outstanding at National Championships

Post date: Apr 11, 2013 3:20:06 AM

Eight members of the Alberni Valley Wrestling Club travelled to Saskatoon to compete in the 2013 Cadet/Juvenile National Championships this weekend. The club’s results once again demonstrated the national prominence of our local wrestlers and program.

Grade 10 wrestler, Nolan Badovinac capped an already outstanding season with two National Titles. Badovinac dominated the competition winning his second consecutive Cadet (15/16 Year Old) National title on Saturday. Nolan went undefeated to win the gold medal in the Cadet Men’s 76 kilogram division.

On Sunday Badovinac followed up his Cadet gold medal performance by winning the FILA Cadet Tournament (16/17 Year Old). “Our national age groups in Canada are different than those internationally,” explained Alberni Coach James Messenger. “As a result they have a separate trails tournament on Sunday to select which wrestlers can represent Canada internationally. Nolan steam rolled his competition and won the FILA division too. The win qualifies Nolan to represent Canada at the Cadet World Championships in Serbia August 20 – 25.”

Grade 12 wrestler, Jonathan Spencer wrestled the tournament of his life to win the silver medal in the Juvenile (17/18 Year Old) Men’s 69 kilogram division. Spencer won 4 matches in route to the finals where he lost a tough match to Montreal’s Francis Carter who was selected the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

“Jonathan wrestled unbelievable this weekend. I was really happy to see him have success at Nationals. Jonathan has been our team leader this year. He has done anything we, as coaches, have asked of him. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a great tournament at BC’s. He wasn’t feeling well and had trouble finding focus. I didn’t want to see him end his high school career that way. He didn’t have any problem focusing this weekend. He wrestled very tough and very smart. There were no easy matches. His success is a testament to the blood, sweat and tears he has dedicated to the sport over the last 7 years,” assessed Coach Messenger.

A silver medal was not enough for Spencer. On Sunday he wrestled in the Greco Roman Tournament and finished 5th. “Greco Roman is a style of wrestling where you cannot attack or touch the legs below the waist. We don’t wrestle Greco much in our program but Jono wanted to try it out. The upper body moves are not really Jonathan’s style however he got better each match and it was great to see him finish 5th,” commented Alberni Coach Chris Bodnar.

Grade 11 twins Jordan and Jesse Wagner continued their amazing season by both placing in the extremely tough 54 kg Juvenile weight class. With no fewer than 4 returning National champions and several other medalists all competing at that weight the Wagners showed why they belong in the top echelons of Canadian wrestling. Jordan took 4th and Jesse 6th at 54kg. Jordan followed up his placing at Juvenile with a bronze medal in the FILA Cadet Trails. The finish makes him an alternate for the Canadian International team should he have the opportunity to compete.

“There is no doubt 54 kg Juvenile boys was one of the most stacked weight classes I have ever seen,” commented Messenger, “ both Jordan and Jesse had outstanding tournaments and with a little luck in the semi-finals they could have met each other in the gold medal final. To lose heartbreakers in the semis and still come back and wrestle well was a real testament to their growing mental maturity. They are both first year Juveniles so next year will be their year to take a run at gold. ”

Grade 10 Cadet Michel Kurucz was one match away from placing in the 60 kg Cadet girls division. Kurucz had a solid tournament in her first trip to the Nationals as did fellow Cadet wrestlers Remi Wells (58 kg), Eryk Cardinal-Mckenzie (69 kg) and Dean Leyland (69 kg). All of these local wrestlers competed hard and showed they will be back to compete at the Nationals again.

“I am very proud with how we ended the season. Going into the tournament I had thought we had a good chance at some strong placings. Having four of our eight wrestlers place and to have everyone compete so well was an outstanding way to finish the season,” reflected coach James Messenger.

“Nationals are the official end of our competitive season. Now our 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. I strongly believe kids at this age will be better athletes if they do multiple sports. I encourage our kids to get involved with other sports in the off season. Go play rugby, go out for track, whatever it is just be active. A break from the mats is a good thing but I don’t just want them sitting on the couch.”

Fundraising is an ongoing endeavor for such a successful athletic program. Club Director Tom McEvay explained, ``we fundraise all year and most of our fundraising is service oriented where we provide a service for a community event or organization in return for their donation. It is a win-win scenario where the community benefits, our program raises needed funds and our young athletes learn the value of work and community service.``

``I would like to thank the Toy Run, Lions Club and the Kinsmen Club who all donated or pledged funds to assist us with the expenses of getting 8 wrestlers to the Nationals this year,`` continued McEvay, ``we are so fortunate to live in this community where so many people and organization come together to help one another. We are proud to represent you all on the National stage.``

The Alberni Valley Wrestling Club is also making final preparations for their Annual Awards Night Thursday May 2nd at the Italian Hall. Wrestlers, their families, and supporters are encouraged to make plans to attend. Tickets are free and can be picked up from the coaches at ADSS, Neill and Dunn.