Wrestlers from the Campbell River area competed at the Cougar Invitational Wrestling Tournament, held in Chemainus Dec. 9.
The local contingent fared well against some strong competition from all over Vancouver Island.
Ecole Phoenix Middle School sent the largest number of Campbell River wrestlers to the tournament, a number of whom placed in the top four. Earning fourth place finishes in their age and weight categories were Conner Drake, Everest Clayton, Michael Smith, Griffin Lelliot, and Lucas Milne. Medal winners from Phoenix were Sadie Dowler (bronze), Akira Isaac and Owen Olney (silver), and Hailey Knight (gold). Southgate’s Gage Balle also competed in the junior division, finishing in fourth place.
Campbell River’s two secondary schools sent a smaller group of wrestlers to the tournament, with all participants faring very well amongst tough Island competition. Carihi’s Quinn Golobar and Kaitlyn Jinda both earned bronze medals, while Chymira Aubry won silver, and Hailey Ricard and Scott Assu brought home gold medals. Timberline Secondary wrestlers Kyle McDonald and Joel House also had impressive performances, with McDonald winning silver, and House earning gold.
Coach Matt Sparling reflected on the Campbell River performances.
“Overall, we are a young group, with some showing they are ready to compete on the big stage,” he said.
Sparling was very impressed with what he saw from grade 11 Timberline wrestler Joel House: “Joel is looking really good after his silver medal in the cadet (grades 9-10) division at nationals last season. His performance this weekend was technically sharp, and he showed a lot of confidence.”
Sparling was also impressed with grade 9 Carihi wrestlers Scott Assu and Hailey Ricard, who both won gold at the Cougar Invite.
“Hailey looked really good. She dominated her age division, so she challenged the winner of the senior girls division, who was a top 6 finisher in last year’s provincials,” he said. “Even though she lost the challenge match, there were lots of positives for Hailey to take from it. Scotty looked very sharp. He continued a style of smart wrestling, and sound fundamentals that won him silver at provincials last year. Both grade 9’s have given notice to their older competitors that they will be tough competition.”
Wrestling continues this Saturday for a small group of selected athletes to compete at Simon Fraser University’s “War on the Floor” tournament. This is one of three seeding tournaments for the 2017-2018 Provincial Championships being held at the end of February in Port Alberni.