Dan Pagan/the Gauntlet

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Dinos host CIS championships

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The Dinos wrestling team will look to defend its women's championship team title against the rival Simon Fraser University Clan at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport nationals this weekend in Calgary.

The team qualified seven out of eight women and four men for this weekend's meet.

"I'm pretty satisfied," said Dinos wrestling coach Mitch Ostberg. "I would have liked to have had more male competitors in the competition, but Canada West was tough and always has been a very competitive conference, so it's tough to qualify athletes."

Ostberg emphasized that while he would have liked to have had the eighth contender from the women's team in the mix as well, he is quite pleased and believes his team has a real shot at the team title.

Ostberg admitted the men's team will still look for individual medalists, but with only four qualified men, and one injured, it will be very difficult to be a contender for the team title.

"We are not going to be very competitive in the [men's] team race," said Ostberg. "We have three athletes in there and I believe we could have an individual champion. That's the great thing, you have potential for individual champions in weight classes and then also the team title that you can pursue."

"Anything can happen," he continued. "We've prepared well. I am confident that our girls will do their very best and we'll see where all the chips fall after all the dust has settled."

However, Ostberg and his team see their biggest challenge as overcoming their rival SFU.

"They beat us two weeks ago at CanWest for the team title by one point, which is what can be compared to winning by milliseconds in any race," said Dinos wrestler Erica Wiebe. "However, at each weight class we qualified we are looking for a podium finish which I think will be the difference and help us defend our title."

Wiebe said the Dinos will be taking the tournament "one match at a time and wrestling every opponent like the final."

"We have the fitness and determination to be able to go 100 per cent in every match and not hold back," said Wiebe.

Ostberg attributes this ability to the team's season of preparation.

"It's not just these last few days, it's an entire season of training and competition . . . that they've honed their skills and built the confidence to feel good about going into the CIS nationals and that they have the ability to perform well and beat their opposition," said Ostberg. "SFU is the top-ranked team in the country. We are ranked number two. We are very close."

Championships will take place from 10-5 Friday and 10-3 Saturday with the gold medal matches starting at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Jack Simpson Gym.