Ladies wrassle their way to the top of Canada West

By Jon Roe

“Ability is nothing without opportunity.”

-Napoleon Bonaparte

The Dinos women’s wrestling team had an opportunity to display their ability in Saskatoon when they travelled east to take on their western Canada opponents in the Canada West finals. The result was a gold medal for the ladies, their fourth first-place finish of the season.

“We had five individual champions out of eight weight classes, a pretty dominant performance,” said Dinos head coach Mitch Ostberg. “At CanWest there are very strong women’s teams to compete against. [The University of] Regina had a very good women’s team, [University of] Saskatchewan had a full squad, and of course, Simon Fraser University, the returning champions from last year, is always strong. They have a perennial strength, they’ve won Canadian Interuniversity Sport three times in a row and we hope to dethrone them this year.”

Captain Andrea Ross admitted that they had expected to win going into the tournament.
“Truthfully, yes,” said Ross. “The way we have performed this whole year has been consistent and everyone competed to their abilities. We just dominated every team, throughout. We were fairly confident going in.”

The Dinos also took gold at the Dinos invitational in October, at Lakehead University in December, and at the Golden Bear Open in Edmonton in January. Several rookies stepped up for the Dinos, including Genevieve Haley, who was named the female rookie of the year.

“Gen was fifth in junior nationals last year,” said Ostberg. “She’s a very strong competitor already entering the program. But she’s really developed rapidly and is improving. You should never say you’re not surprised when a rookie wins, but she’s really quite good. It’s not that surprising that she can win.”
In the 82 kg class, Dino Meg Goldsmith settled an old score that had been a thorn in her side all season.

“Megan Goldsmith and Shayla Turcotte from SFU have had kind of a rivalry back and forth this year,” said Ross. “Megan’s come up short against her a few times before but just annihilated her at CanWest and solidified our win against the Clan.”

“It was really thrilling to watch Megan go out in the last match against her conference rival and throw and pin her opponent to win the Canada West title for her individual placement,” said Ostberg. “We pretty much secured the team title at that time but it was great for her to end with such a dramatic finish.”

The men’s side finished with a tie for bronze, but Ostberg noted that the finish is good for the inexperienced team.

“We have a young men’s team,” said Ostberg. “The majority of our team is in their second season of wrestling. With such a young team you can’t really expect too much, but I thought our men’s team performed very well. Out of the nine athletes we entered, eight qualified for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships which is almost the level of the best teams for qualification. The top team, SFU, qualified nine guys.”

CIS championships are Mar. 2-3 in Saskatoon. The Dinos will be sending eight female wrestlers to go with their eight male qualifiers, and will be going into the championships as the top-ranked women’s team in the country. Though confident going into the CW championships, the team is understandably cautious when it comes to next weekend’s nation-wide event with great programs like Western University and Brock University participating.

“[Western and Brock] are very competitive and we’ll have to be careful to perform our best against those competitors,” said Ostberg. “Because the CIS is an open-format tournament, you don’t necessarily go head to head against those teams. We meet them in open tournament play, individuals, in different weight classes. We may meet some of those opponents and we may not.”

Ross minced no words in describing her mind-set going into the season-ending championships.
“I want to perform my best, and I want to lead our team to the championship,” said Ross. “Now, because it’s my fourth year, I pretty much know everyone that’s going to be in there. I’ve wrestled everyone that I will be seeing at the CIS, and hopefully [I’ll meet] the girl I’m expecting to be in the final. I’ve been studying her hard. I’ve wrestled her, we’ve gone back and forth, it should be a good match.”

If the Dinos can take away the CIS championship, it’ll be their first since 2001, the end of a three-year run that started with the first women’s championship in 1999.


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