Wrastlin’ brood roll into nationals

For some people, rolling around on the ground is a sign of pain or agony. For these guys it is a sign of happiness and bliss.

On the heels of a women’s overall title and a men’s silver medal performance at the Canada West final Feb. 16 at the University of Regina, the University of Calgary wrestling team is on its way back to the national championships.

Thunder Bay, Ont. will be the site of the 2001/02 Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships and, if the Dinos women have their way, the site of a fourth straight title. Led by Junior World medallist and Canadian representative at the upcoming World University Games Breanne Graham, Calgary certainly looks poised for the four-peat.

"It’s crazy," she said. "This is going to be the strongest field we’ve competed against. Every year women’s wrestling gets better and better. Brock will be our top competition again, but there are girls in all classes from lots of different schools that will be tough."

The Dino women qualified seven wrestlers, the most athletes to nationals of any school, which should help them in team points.

The men will be led by a host of characters big and small. Mike Stitt, a silver medallist in the 57 kg weight class last year, and David Kooperberg a two-time gold medallist in the 76 kg class will lead the way. But as Head Coach Mitch Ostberg said, there are plenty of guys who he expects to have a break out meet this weekend.

"Rob Young has wrestled well all year in the heavyweight class despite being a first-year guy. I expect him to challenge for a medal in Thunder Bay," he said. "And Hakan Kadir. This guy has been battling injuries and conflict all year but I expect him to lead the way at this meet. I’d really like to see Hakan do well."

Ostberg’s confidence in his team is warranted considering they finished second by a mere point to Regina at the Canada West championship, but he also realizes it’s going to be tough to bring the team title home. Regina and Brock have dominated the national mat in the last seven years, with the Cougars winning twice and the Badgers winning five times including the last three in a row.

"For the men it’s going to be a three horse race between us, Regina and Brock," explained fifth-year veteran and team captain Joe Loucks. "We have the ability to win it but everyone has to show up."

It may be cliché but the truth sometimes is. So if the Dinos are going to bring home the hardware they’re going to have to "show up."

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.