Say goodbye to Brad

By Kris Kotarski

One day in a van just a couple of years ago may have changed the course of history. Well, maybe not, but it did change the travel arrangements for the U of C wrestling team. It’s just one of the many memories from departing team captain Brad Neve.

"We were driving to SFU for a tournament and (Head Coach) Mitch (Ostberg) couldn’t drive that year for some reason. So a couple of the older guys drove."

Is a team with no supervision in a 15-seat van heading for trouble? You bet.

"We had Coliseum matches in the van," said Neve. "We would see if you could stuff another guy into a seat. It got rough. We [arrived] all beat up to the tournament. When he saw the bitemarks on one guy’s shoulder, Mitch knew right away.

"That was the last time Mitch let anyone drive," said Neve with a grin.

But those were Neve’s younger, less-responsible days. As team captain this season, he had to take a look at himself and calm down a little. It was for the good of the team.

"For me, this year was different," he said. "I was one of the older guys. You have to slow down a little bit. The only thing I felt I could do was lead by example, show a good work ethic and hope the team notices."

That work ethic took Neve to the top of the CIAU this season. He won a National title for the first time in five years and ended his varsity career at the as a champion. After four straight fifth-place finishes, Neve finally won his title.

"I never felt I should have been fifth and this was my last chance. I’m really happy."

It’ll be interesting to see if Neve stays happy when he becomes an accountant after graduation.

"It’ll be another challenge," smiled Neve. "It’ll be hard work. And I’m sure there’s some wild characters [in accounting] too. But I’ll miss wrestling. I’ll miss the guys. The team guides you through school."

Neve says he has no regrets about his experience as a U of C wrestler.

"It’s been awesome," he said. "You have to make a sacrifice, but it’s still worth it. Everything."

So that’s that for Neve. A Royal Bank All-Canadian, a Dino captain and a national champ. Oh yeah, and a U of C graduate come this spring. Still, despite it all, Neve feels like it all just began.

"Enjoy your time here," he advised. "Don’t take things for granted. It moves so fast. I remember moving in and then someone hit the fast-forward button."

So as the saying goes, all good things come to an end. And looking at Neve and his time with the Dinos, it couldn’t possibly be more true.

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