Nine local middle and high school wrestlers travelled to the mainland this past weekend to compete at the Wildcat Invitational wrestling tournament, hosted by Burnaby Central on Jan. 11.
All nine athletes achieved victories and qualified for the medal rounds, with Kaitlyn Jinda and Sadie Dowler of Carihi and Owen Olney of Phoenix Middle School claiming gold. Scott Assu, and Alex Anderson came up short in the finals, securing the silver, while Chymira Aubry, Hailey Ricard, Gage Balle and Riory Young all finished in fourth place.
Saturday saw the wrestlers competing as members of a Vancouver Island All-Star Team, as they took on teams composed of athletes from the Fraser Valley, Vancouver and the North Shore of Vancouver. Hosted by the Duke of Connaught Regiment at the Beatty Street Drill Hall in downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver Island team took the inaugural title of the event, going 3-0 in the competition.
“There were some really tough matches for our athletes, and they really rose to the occasion,” said coach Jason Kerluck. “Alex (Anderson) had to wrestle up two weight classes to fill a gap in the Island roster and still finished 2-1 on the day, even though he was giving up some size and weight to bigger competitors.”
Unique in format, dual meets feature a single athlete from opposing teams at each weight, with the results from individual matches counting towards an overall team score. In their most competitive dual of the day, the Island team was down 69-68 to the Fraser Valley team with two matches remaining.
“Kaitlyn Jinda performed when the pressure was on, securing the pin and getting the bonus points that sealed the victory for us,” said Kerluck.
WRESTLING IN THE RIVER – Up next for the Campbell River wrestlers is the Campbell River Invite, sponsored by Walco Industries, being hosted Saturday (Jan. 19) at Carihi.
“It has become a very strong tournament,” said Phoenix coach Steve Rose. “Several strong teams from the mainland are coming over, with the ultimate goal of competing for the Most Outstanding Wrestler Championship Belt in the feature matches.”
Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 9:30, with a full concession and free admission for fans.