By Kelly Chu
A new year is a fresh start. After a heartbreaking loss in the CIS Nationals last year –losing by a single point to Brock University–the men’s wrestling team is back with a vengeance.
They have been in the top three in the country for seven of the past eight seasons, placing third many times, so when they lost by a point last year, it was earth-shattering.
The women’s team fared similarly last year, earning a silver at nationals for the second year in a row, after three consecutive championship campaigns.
What does this year hold for the beloved Dinos wrestling team? Perhaps success is in the air.
"Our goal is to be the champions in both the women and men’s teams," said Head Coach Mitch Ostberg.
Despite losing CIS Wrestler of the Year and University of Calgary Male Athlete of the Year David Kooperberg and perennial champion Michael Stitt to graduation, the Dinos have recruited fresh new faces to their lineup as well as returning champions. Top athletes to watch out for include CIS medallist Andrea Ross, returning CIS silver medallist Jeremy Rudack, junior world team leader Laura McDougall and women’s team captain Breanne Graham. The Dinos also welcome back Wilson Burnett and former CIS champion Melissa Kindratsky, both returning after a year off due to shoulder injuries.
With this strong lineup, the only thing the wrestling team lacks is depth. Although both women’s and men’s teams are strong and ready to compete, they are lacking in numbers as only 13 wrestlers comprise the men’s team while 11 make up the women’s team. Ostberg would prefer to have 20 and 15 wrestlers, respectively. Despite this drawback, he shrugs it off.
"We’re going to have to stay healthy and hope that no one gets hurt," Ostberg explains.
On Oct. 17-18, the men’s wrestling team’s will put their skills to the test in Havre, Montana. When they return home, be sure to catch both the men’s and women’s team in their Dual Meet Tournament and Dinos Invitational, Oct. 24-25 at the Red Gym.
The year looks bright for the Dinos wrestling team as they hope to put Brock back in their place by claiming the elusive national title.