Both in terms of overall numbers and final results, local wrestlers dominated the Cougar Invitational hosted by the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club at Frances Kelsey Secondary School last Saturday.
Just short of half the field — 80 of 162 athletes — came from Cowichan Valley schools, and local schools ended up on top of all the age-group standings.
“I was pretty stoked when I saw the numbers,” CVWC head coach Nick Zuback said. “Wrestling is growing here and thriving, as we saw with the results.”
Queen of Angels School topped the junior and elementary standings, and Cowichan Secondary finished first in the senior division. Chemainus Elementary was third in elementary; École Cobble Hill and Quamichan were fourth and seventh, respectively, in the junior standings; and Kelsey and Duncan Christian placed fourth and eighth, respectively, in the senior division.
Among the standouts in the elementary boys division were second-year wrestlers Benjamin and Elijah Cote. The brothers from Chemainus are both on the small side, Zuback noted, but bring a lot of effort to the mat. Benjamin finished first in the 24-26kg class, and Elijah took gold in 38-41kg.
“He’s a little workhorse,” the coach said of Benjamin, but he could have been talking about Elijah. “He’s one of our tiniest wrestlers, but he has a heart of gold. He just goes, goes, goes. You couldn’t ask for much more from a kid.”
Other elementary boys results:
24-26kg: Vince Genilla (Q of A) – third
26-27kg: Gilles Dalton-Pereira (Q of A) – first
30-31kg: Brayden Zuback (Q of A) – first, Kian Shelley (Queen Margaret’s School) – third, Cameron Caswell (Q of A) – fourth
32-35kg: Jimmy Duncan (Q of A) – second
36-37kg: Brodie Brennan-McCann (Q of A) – second, Ronan McGeachy (Mount Prevost) – fourth, Chase Acton (Q of A) – fifth
38-41kg: Deo Toth (Q of A) – second, Tyrell Currie (Tansor) – third
41-45kg: Jacob Meiner (Maple Bay) – second, Paul Clark (Alex Aitken) – third, Keaton Woods (Alex Aitken) – fourth
45-48kg: Darevyn Curnow (Q of A) – fourth
48-52kg: Manny Iannidinardo (Cobble Hill) – first, Wyland Dumont (Q of A) – second
57-62kg: Isaac Giles (Q of A) – second, Joshua Joe (Q of A) – fourth, Farren Aeichele (Tansor) – fifth
Q of A’s Beth Quinn was among the stars in the elementary female division, winning the 29-30kg class.
“She’s a firecracker,” Zuback said of the second-year wrestler. “She’s not very big, but she’s like a bulldozer. She just runs into girls, knocks them down and pins them. Beth’s a machine.”
Local wrestlers took the too four spots in that class, with Lucy Healey (Chemainus), Riley Carroll (Drinkwater) and Noelle Klatt (Cobble Hill) coming in behind Quinn.
Other elementary girls results:
Ruby De Graaf (Q of A) – first, Jordana Crawford (Q of A) – second, Koa Rodier (Q of A) – third
39-41kg: Seren Elkiw of (Q of A) – first, Beatrix Klatt of (Cobble Hill) – second
44-45kg: Malia Sandhu (Q of A) – first, Melody Hodge (Lake Cowichan) – second
49-54kg: Sedona Bond (Q of A) – first, Brooklyn Gray (Q of A) – second
Katelyn Doherty’s first-place finish for Duncan Christian in the 34-38kg class was a highlight of the junior girls division.
“There were some tough girls in her class,” Zuback noted. “She’s so focused. Right from when she’s shaking hands [before a match], she comes with a plan; she’s playing it out in her mind.”
Other junior girls results:
44-46kg: Sophie Rose (Q of A) – second
47-52kg: Indira Klatt (Cobble Hill) – first, Annika Michaluk (Q of A) – second
54-56kg: Loryn Roberts (Q of A) – first, Cassidy Pace (Q of A) – second
59-63kg: Georgia Bond (Q of A) – first, Julia Doehler (George Bonner) – second, Lucetta Wilson (Q of A) – fourth, Philo Wilson (Q of A) – fifth
71kg: Charlotte Aeichele (Quam) – first, Emma Greenwood (Crofton) – second
Jacob Fraser of École Cobble Hill was the youngest wrestler in the junior boys 62-65kg class, but that didn’t stop him from placing first.
“The two boys in his weight class both placed at Islands last year,” Zuback said. “He beat them with strength, technique and basically all around. He’ll be one to watch, for sure. His size and technique are off the charts right now.”
Other junior boys results:
37-38kg: Nathan Cyr (Alex Aitken) – first
38-42kg: Carter Zuback (Q of A) – second, Ross Meiner (Alex Aitken) – third
44-47kg: Joaquim Dalton-Pereira (Q of A) – first, Antonio Iannidinardo (Cobble Hill) – second, Cameron Healey (Chemainus El) – third
49-51kg: Nathan Purslow (Bench) – fifth
53-54kg: Connor Gregson (Quam) – first
56-57kg: Dylan Acton (Q of A) – third, Noah Dash (Chemainus Sec) – fourth, Ryan Curnow (Q of A) – fifth
67kg: Ethan Mellings (Q of A) – first, Grady Berg of Q of A – second, Max Jimmy (Q of A) – third
82-90kg: Gabriel Carreiro (Kelsey) – second
Hayley Bye-Pace was sidelined with injuries and illness to start the year, but got into form just in time to win the senior girls 58-64kg class, edging out Cowichan Secondary teammate Miaya Brownbridge.
“She just got back on the mat the week before,” Zuback said of Bye-Pace. “She didn’t miss a step. She’s in Grade 12, so it was nice to finish her final Cougar Invitational with a first-place finish.”
Other senior girls results:
49-53kg: Charlie Roberts (QMS) – second
68-72kg: Nadja Schwarz (Cow High) – second
91kg: Chloe Foster (Kelsey) – first, Jessica Nakahara (Ladysmith) – second
Duncan Christian’s Aiden Dyer-Price got the season off to a good start by winning the senior boys 64-68 class.
“He looked really good this weekend,” Zuback said. “He was just a step ahead of his opponents. He took them down with ease.”
Other senior boys results:
54-60kg: Josh Isaac (Kelsey) – second, Mattias Zachary (Cow High) – fourth
58-63kg: Talon Hird (Cow High) – first, Ashton Combdon (Cow High) – second, Dylan Battye (Cow High) – third
65-71kg: Dawson Jory (Cow High) – second
The CVWC is taking 25 wrestlers to Burnaby this weekend for the War on the Floor meet.
“It will be a top-notch tournament,” Zuback said. “To win it will take a lot from a wrestler.”