When wrestling Olympic athletes and world champions, one can be forgiven for placing second or third.
So was the story behind the Dinos wrestling team this past weekend when they travelled to the University of Manitoba for both a dual and an open meet.
Unfortunately, the dual meet saw the Dinos walk away with a 19--18 loss to the Bisons, even though the team went into the meet thinking they'd come out on top.
"I thought we could beat Manitoba, but they had a stronger team than we expected," conceded Head Coach Mitch Ostberg.
And while they faced defeat in the dual meet, the open meet was much more uplifting.
In the men's division, Pat Yau placed sixth in the 55kg class, while Dave Kooperberg placed third at 74kg and Rob Young took the silver in the heavyweight division. The women's team saw Kate Eckfeldt at fifth in the 55kg and below two-time world champion Sarah Erikson. Melissa Kindratsky and Breanne Graham finished second and third in the 59kg class.
"They were ahead of all the other Canadian kids," said Ostberg, adding that the attendance at the meet was much different than he had expected. "The open meet was fairly well attended from an international perspective."
With this meet over, the next hurdle for the Dinos to overcome will be the Canada West championships in two weeks. Held February 15--16 in Regina, both the men and women will have to peform well to qualify for the upcoming Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Ostberg is optimistic, however, and expects eight men and all seven of the women to qualify for nationals.