Alberni marches to fourth BC wrestling title
For the fourth year in a row the ADSS Armada wrestlers have won the BC Secondary Schools Wrestling aggregate title.
Wrestlers accomplished the feat in Duncan last weekend. This prestigious honour is awarded to the high school wrestling team who is the top school in the combined totals for their boys and girls teams. Never before has this honour been won so many times by a single high school in British Columbia.
The Armada won this year by first winning the overall Girls team title for the third time in their young history. The girls edged host Cowichan Secondary in the female team race by five points with a total of 39 team points to Cowichan’s 34 points. In perhaps the closest finish in BC high school girls wrestling, three other schools tied at 33 points. On the tie breaker Carson Graham were third, Port Moody fourth and St. Thomas Moore fifth.
On the boys side, the Armada were also in the thick of the hunt. The ADSS Boys team finish tied for fifth place at 38 points with Rick Hansen of Abbotsford. That was not far behind fourth place Sir Charles Tupper of Vancouver at 43 points, St Thomas Moore at 44 points and Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir at 49 points. WJ Mouat of Abbotsford won their first BC Secondary Schools Wrestling title with a strong finish at 61 points.
The repeat aggregate win by Alberni this year was not a given. Traditional rivals such as Carson Graham and Mouat were certainly high in the rankings again this year. The biggest threat was expected to be St Thomas Moore who had 18 girls qualify for the BC’s and had a strong boys contingent as well. In the end STM and Alberni both finished with 77 points in the combined standing. ADSS was given the title on the tie breaker which was the number of champions a team had.
“We set a goal at the beginning of the year to win that title again but we knew it would not be easy,” said head ADSS coach John McDonald. “Our wrestlers and coaches worked so hard all year and to win by such a narrow margin was very emotional for us all.”
The Armada were not finished with remarkable finishes with their team results. Individually, ADSS wrestlers put in some amazing performances. The pinnacle of those achievements was the gold medal won by Grade 12 female wrestler Jordon Bodnar, who won an unprecedented fifth straight BC High School title at 43 kg. Bodnar won in dominant fashion, not having a point scored on her all tournament and then pinning her opponent Tiana Dykstra of 100 Mile House in the first round of the final.
“We now have two athletes to have won five titles as Jordie joins Yorgo Roumanis who won on the boys side from 1994 to 1998,” said ADSS assistant coach Ryan Dvorak. “She was very deserving and we couldn’t be happier for her.”
For the boys, it was Grade 11 Jesse Wagner who repeated as a BC High School Champion. Wagner won his second BC title at 51 kg by defeating Michal Herman of Campbell River in the final. Wagner shut down his opposition all weekend. “Jesse wrestled tough and smart all tournament. He and his brother Jordan have a great future in this sport if they continue with their terrific attitudes and efforts,” McDonald said.
Jesse’s twin brother Jordan also had a great BC’s, taking the bronze medal at 54 kg. The heavier Wagner took third with a win over Hanar Basran of Rick Hansen. His only loss came in the semi final when he was beaten by Darthe Capellan of St. Thomas Moore who wrestled the match of his life. “Jordan would probably want the match back,” said Dvorak. “He couldn’t get on track and he let Cappellan dictate the match.”
Speaking of character, it was displayed in spades by two Armada wrestlers who brought home silver medals for the locals. Grade 10 wrestler Nolan Badovinac showed his incredible potential again by making the final at 74 kg. In the final, Badovinac met Grade 12 Jaskarn Ranu of Lord Tweedsmuir. Ranu had come down from 78 kg and maintained an undefeated season with his win at 74. Unfortunately, it was not without some tarnish as Ranu showed poor sportsmanship in the final.
In the girls 64 kg division, Grade 12 Alberni wrestler Bailey Durning surprised many except her own coaches in taking second at that weight. In the final, Durning dominated the first round against rival Meagan Kurivita of Cowichan but got caught by the more experienced for a pin in the second round.
The surprise of the meet for the lady Armada was Grade 10 Michel Kurucz, who took the bronze at 60 kg. “Michel has shown huge development this season and we expected her to be competitive at the BC’s but winning a medal was outstanding,” assistant coach Chris Bodnar said. “She had the tournament of her young career.”
Also wrestling well for the locals were sixth place finishers Remi Wells, Julia McGowan and Christian Anderson.
Several local wrestlers were close to placing at the provincials but narrowly missed out. Grade 12 Jonathan Spencer was expected to compete for a medal at 74 kg but was hampered by the flu. Grade 11 Russell David was one win away from a placing at 57 kg as was Grade 12 Cole Walton at 110 kg.
Alberni wrestling director Tom McEvay praised all of the athletes and pointed out his pride in the incredible local coaching staff they have. “No other program in BC and likely in Canada can boast that they have over a dozen alumni coaching on a regular basis,” he said. “We are so proud of the fact that our alumni come back and help in so many ways, without our coaches we do not have a program.”
For most local wrestlers they now get some time off of the demanding wrestling season. For others, it will be a week to rest and then back on the mats training for the National Cadets (15-16 yr olds) and Juveniles (17-18 yr olds) in Saskatoon April 3-7.
Edited: Headline now reflects ADSS won a BC provincial title, not Island title.