Cowichan wrestler breaks new ground at nationals

Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club's Molly O'Donnell made history winning the first-ever women's greco-style match ever staged at nationals.

"It was pretty neat, and the official went over and shook her hand after the match," said coach Nick Zuback of the Gulf Islands Secondary student. "She's been training hard."

"Women's wrestling is in its infancy, and the last 20 years it's been around they've always kept it at freestyle, for safety reasons and what not," Zuback explained. "But (the women's greco) was quite well-received."

O'Donnell, who finished fifth, wasn't the only valley wrestler to come home from this weekend's event in Guelph, Ont. with great finishes.

"We did extremely well, and we had 10 kids that went," said Zuback. "We had a number of them that placed."

Weigh-ins took place last Thursday and competition ran Friday through Sunday. Friday and Saturday saw wrestlers compete in the freestyle component, while Sunday was reserved for greco-style and cadet trials for the national team.

Among Cowichan participants was Grade 9 Queen of Angels student Andrea Morris, who placed second during the provincials. She came out this weekend with a fifth place finish in the 46kg-cadet category.

Frances Kelsey's Olive Kiruiro was geared up to compete in the 90kg event, but didn't end up having anyone to wrestle, said Zuback. "She was happy and dissapointed at the same time," he said, noting the easy gold finish.

Cowichan club's Jeevan Sall just missed a podium finish, with a fourth in the 150 kg freestyle juvenile event.

"It was his first year in that division and he'll be back next year in that same division and he should be able to place in the top three," said Zuback. "He wrestled really well."

The club's other top 10 finishers in freestyle included O'Donnell, Jimmy Wyld, Kayden Dorma, Nolan Mitchell and Chelsea Warke.

First timers Ryan Kuruvita and Aydan Claus didn't win in their categories but had great experiences, added Zuback.

"Some had tougher battles than I thought they would have had," he said. "All in all it was a great experience and these kids have some extreme potential to continue."

In greco, Dorma took a second place finish, while Sall banked a third, Wyld a fourth, and Mitchell fifth.

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