On the women’s side, the Dinos had no match. Breanne Graham and Erika Sharpe were amazing all season long, as was captain Melissa Kindratsky. There was no one even close to touching the Dinos’ talent, and the only challenge for the women was living up to high expectations. On the men’s side, the team had a nice blend of youngsters and veterans. Captain Brad Neve and David Kooperberg led the way as each won CIAU gold, while Mat Farrell and Mike Stitt both had outstanding seasons.
This gets a little tricky. In competition, wrestlers always give their best effort. When an opponent is trying to kill you, self-preservation kicks in, and before you know it, you’re working your ass off not to get maimed. But the true grit of this team came at their practices, which resembled Stalinist Siberian death-marches much more than athletic training.
Head Coach Mitch Ostberg and assistant Lee Vierling’s team did an outstanding job in two key areas. First, they managed to keep the dominant women’s squad focused, which isn’t easy when a team is head and shoulders above their competitors. Second, they got the best out of a group of guys who weren’t as talented as past Dinos teams. The terrific progress of rookie Anthony Baldwin is testament to the strength of the U of C coaching staff.
The women won a National Championship. The banner hangs in Kinesiology, and it’s the only one the Dinos recieved this season. On the men’s side, the team was third in CIAU competition. Considering the youth and inexperience on the squad, third is a great result for the grapplers.
Song they remind me of: I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s about a Turkish guy and his bloodlust. I saw it on MuchMusic’s Cliptrip the other day, and the singer looks just like Hakan Kadir.