Sports

Wrestling crowd overflows gym

Going over-the-top to win her match is Chelsea Warke of Cowichan against Amelia Sutherland of North Shore in Vancouver.  - Andrew Leong
Going over-the-top to win her match is Chelsea Warke of Cowichan against Amelia Sutherland of North Shore in Vancouver.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

The Cougar Classic continues to pack them in, no matter what the venue.

The ninth-annual Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club event attracted a record number of 215 athletes to the Cowichan Secondary School gymnasium.

Island wrestlers have always flocked to the event, but now “the teams from the Mainland are starting to come over,’’ said CVWC coach and organizer Nick Zuback.

The event that began with 63 kids and has outgrown facilities at Queen of Angels, Mount Prevost and Chemainus Secondary is likely in need of another venue change.

“We were bursting out of the seams there at Cow High,’’ said Zuback. “It was so jam-packed in there.’’

The quality of the wrestling competition in all classes was first-rate. Cowichan placed second overall in the junior team standings with 81 points, short of only winner Abbotsford Traditional’s 101.

“We had a couple of kids that were out which would have been huge to that team title,’’ said Zuback.

Alberni District was the runaway winner of the senior category with 94 points. Cowichan was sixth with 24.

“We’re definitely a younger team,’’ said Zuback. “We had a lot of kids that graduated from the program.’’

Among those is Maegan Kuruvita, who’s doing very well at SFU.

Chelsea Warke was a standout among the juniors, beating clubmate Hannah Tuplin in the 51-kilogram girls’ final.

“Hannah’s definitely one to watch,’’ said Zuback. “She’s first-year. She’s like a sponge.’’

Many Cowichan wrestlers were winners in their respective categories. Damian McCuaig-Jones was among the other impressive rookies.

Zuback also has a great group of elementary wrestlers.

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