Armada Boy’s Wrestling Win Island Wrestling Championships for 15th Consecutive Year

Post date: Feb 18, 2014 3:23:39 AM

The ADSS boy’s wrestling team lived up to their motto “The Tradition Continues” by winning the Vancouver Island Secondary School Wrestling Championships for the 15th consecutive year. It was the 27th time in the past 32 years the Armada Boys came out on top. The 2014 Vancouver Island Championships also marked another milestone as they were hosted by Gulf Islands Secondary School on Salt Spring Island and it was the first time the Championships were ever held off Vancouver Island.

The ADSS boys finished with 76 points, more than double the 28 points accumulated by second place Esquimalt. Dover Bay Nanaimo were third with 26 points and Balleenas of Parksville were fourth with 21 points. Other top ten teams were Queen of Angels, Ucluelet, Cowichan, EJ Dunn, Timberline and Francis Kelsey.

The ADSS Girls team were depleted by some injuries at the Islands and finished fourth with 15 points. Dover Bay of Nanaimo won the Girls title. Ucluelet and Dover Bay were actually tied with 31 points however the Championship trophy was awarded to Dover Bay as a result of having more gold medals. Carihi of Campbell River were 3rd with 22 points.

Seven Alberni wrestlers claimed the gold medals in their respective weight classes. Grade 12 twin brothers Jesse (54 kg) and Jordan Wagner (57 kg) were outstanding each beating their opponents quickly in their respective finals by technical superiority.

“Jesse and Jordan wrestled really well this weekend. They have been so consistent throughout their high school careers I admit we sometimes take their impressive results for granted,” commented coach James Messenger. “Jesse won his fifth Island title and Jordan his fourth today. There are very few wrestlers who have done that. To do it in such dominant fashion makes it all the more impressive. They look very ready for the BC’s”

Dean Leyland (ADSS 74 kg), Trevor Barker (ADSS 38kg), Isaac McDonald (Dunn 41kg), Lauren Barker (ADSS 57kg) and Michel Kurucz (ADSS 60kg) also claimed gold medals in their respective weight classes.

Leyland won his second consecutive Island title after wrestling a very smart match against his opponent from Esquimalt in the 74 kg final. That weight class was certainly one of the toughest at the Islands this year.

“Dean continues to improve because of his great attitude” noted Coach Chris Bodnar, “Unfortunately Lauren and Michel went unchallenged in the tournament today. They won exhibition matches, which we set up to help prepare them for the competition expected at the BCs. Trevor and Isaac looked strong in their gold medal matches. Both boys could threaten for a medal at the Provincial Championships. ”

The strength of the Alberni Wrestling program is not just evident in their gold medal results. Four local wrestlers brought home silver medals. Grade 11 wrestler Johannes Kulich lost only one match falling to a tough opponent from Ucluelet in the final. Grade eight wrestlers Ravi Manhas (Dunn 38kg), Shane Leeper (Neill 48kg) and Aaron Badovinac (Dunn 63 kg) also finished with silver medals. Badovinac was very impressive in his final against a much older competitor. These are exciting results for middle school wrestlers competing against high school students.

Rounding out the top six placers for local wrestlers were fourth place finishers Russell David (ADSS 54kg), David Wilson (ADSS 63 kg) and Emma McGowan (ADSS 64kg). Morgan Dagenais (ADSS 54 kg) finished fifth. Jarrod Beckett (ADSS 54kg) and Daniel Spencer (Neill 57kg) finished sixth. The top 5 boys and top 6 girls qualified for the BC’s.

ADSS standouts Remi Wells and Christian Anderson were sidelined due to injury but qualified for BC’s through coaches’ petition based on their outstanding results this year. Coaches expect both Wells and Anderson to be ready and able to practice this week. Unfortunately grade 11 ADSS standout Nolan Badovinac will not be ready by the BC’s after knee surgery. The team hopes to have him back for the Nationals in April.

Alberni athletes were not the only members of the team that were recognized for their achievements. ADSS and Club Coach Chris Bodnar was awarded the Island Wrestling Association’s Volunteer of the Year Award for his many years of service to the sport on the Island. Bodnar was recently selected along with fellow ADSS coach Jeanette Badovinac to coach the Island Wrestling team at this year’s BC Summer Games in Nanaimo in July.

With the Island Championships now behind them those local wrestlers who have qualified will devote their complete attention to preparing for the BC’s in Prince George February 26th – March 1st. The ADSS Boys and Girls wrestling teams head to Prince George as the reigning four time BC Aggregate Champions. It is a title they could win for an unprecedented fifth straight year.