Breanne bronzes her boots

By Sean Nyilassy

All great university athletes have one of two destinies: convocation or flunking out. Although competing at the university level straight into one’s late fifties seems like a good idea, one simply can’t remain a University of Calgary undergrad forever.

For this reason, the Dinos must wave a teary-eyed goodbye to many of its athletes about this time of year. Breanne Graham–one of the Dinos clever enough to be worthy of convocation–will be parting ways with the university where she has seen unthinkable success.

Her Dinos career started brightly as she placed atop her weight class in the first varsity competition she entered, a University of Saskatchewan tournament in December of 1999. Since then she has remained one of the Dinos most valuable assets.

"Breanne has been an anchor for the team," observed her coach Mitch Ostberg. "She’s a hard worker and dedicated too."

The finishing touch to her undefeated rookie year was a gold at her first national championship. Not only did she taste individual success, but the Dinos ladies also brought home the first place pennant. For her incredible input that season, Graham was nominated for U of C Rookie of the Year, losing out to volleysaur Amanda Moppett. Graham now has four more years under her belt and plenty to show for it.

When asked what she regrets, Graham only had one very bold thing to say.

"I would’ve liked to have won [nationals] all five years I wrestled for U of C."

She led the team to another national title in the 2000-2001 season, earning herself Most Outstanding Wrestler honours at the national championship meet despite being in a higher weight class.

"She wrestled in a number of different weight classes," commented Ostberg. "Whatever I asked her to wrestle she did."

"If you stay at a level you’re comfortable competing at you can’t grow," Graham said of her consistent changes in weight classes.

In October of this scholastic year, Graham took home a bronze medal from the Women’s World Cup of Wrestling in Tokyo, Japan.

"Competing for Canada was an awesome feeling," Graham confirmed. "It’s nice to know you can do some damage on the world scene."

In interuniversity competition this season she placed second at the Canada West Championships and third at nationals.

With a veritable superstar leaving the team, Ostberg sees the same drive in rookie Laura McDougall and hopes she will step up and take Graham’s firm domination of the mat. Graham is unsure who can take her spot but sees oodles of possible successors.

"There are so many people who are so dedicated," she said.

Even though she will no longer wrestle for the Dinos, Graham will continue to train, hoping to eventually make it to the Olympic Games. She isn’t even leaving the U of C, as she begins work on her Masters degree in geology this fall.

Graham is one Dino who will certainly be missed.

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