Cowichan Secondary won the girls team competition and finished second in the boys bracket, and both Most Outstanding Wrestler awards went to Cow High athletes as the Island wrestling championships were held in Chemainus on the weekend.
Dawson Jory was named the top wrestler on the boys side and Stephanie Mould received the honour on the girls side. They were among 22 athletes from Cowichan Valley schools who qualified to compete at the provincial meet, while collecting 10 gold medals, five silver and five bronze.
Jory’s final match in the boys 70kg class went back and forth and required extra time to decide before he finally got the win over Carihi’s Alex Anderson.
“He’s battled that guy a few times this year, and last time, he lost to him [at the Alberni Invitational a week earlier],” Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club head coach Nick Zuback said. “It was great for him to get redemption.”
Mould, a defending provincial champion, also faced a Carihi wrestler, Hailey Richard, in the final of the girls 54kg class. Quamichan’s Nadja Schwarz finished third in the same class.
“Stephanie kept her focus on her technique and movement,” Zuback said. “She countered everything Hailey threw at her and ended up tackling her in the end.”
Queen of Angels School’s Joaquim Dalton-Pereira won the boys 38kg class to qualify for provincials in his first year of eligibility.
“Joaquim beat a guy who had his number throughout the year,” Zuback noted. “When he won, he jumped pretty high in the air. He was pretty excited.”
Josh Isaac of Frances Kelsey took top spot as Valley wrestlers swept the top three spots in the boys 57kg class, edging Q of A’s Lyle Samson in the final while Quamichan’s Easton Iverson finished third.
“Josh was down eight points and Lyle made an error and Josh was able to catch him and stick him,” Zuback recalled. “It was a big win for him.”
Joining Mould to help Cow High win the Island girls title were Hayley Bye-Pace in the 57kg class and Miaya Brownbridge in the 60kg class. Three Cow High boys also won gold: three-time provincial champ Talon Hird at 54kg, Mattias Zachary at 48kg, and Ashton Combdon at 60kg.
Also winning gold was Emily Reid of Chemainus in the girls 90kg+ class.
Silver medals went to Connor Gregson (Quam) in the boys 51kg class, Charlie Roberts (Q of A) in the girls 47kg class, Georgia Bond (Q of A) in the girls 54kg class, and Chloe Foster (Quam) in the girls 75kg class.
Claiming bronze were Levi Peters (Kelsey) in the boys 51kg class, Dylan Battye (Quam) in the boys 54kg class, and Aiden Dyer-Price (Q of A) in the boys 63kg.
Ethan Mellings (Q of A) placed fourth in the boys 60kg class and Luther Tidder finished fifth in the boys 110kg class, and both wrestlers also qualified for provincials.
The Island championships were well-received by all visiting teams as well.
“The whole tournament went well,” Zuback said. “All the coaches and wrestlers were very happy.”
Area D director Lori Iannidinardo represented the Cowichan Valley Regional District, an official sponsor of the event after the CVWC successfully applied for a hosting grant, and helped to hand out the medals at the end of the meet.
The 22 qualifying wrestlers will head to Langley for the provincial championships, which start next Sunday. Zuback wouldn’t be surprised to see upwards of a dozen podium finishes, and Cow High has a decent chance to win the girls team title.
“The Cowichan Secondary girls have the opportunity to place top three in the province,” the coach said. “If they all compete to the best of their ability, I can’t see it not happening.
“It would be great to bring a banner back to one of the schools.”