Lady wrasslesaurs take championship belt

Jamie Macari of the Brock Badgers was the big individual winner as the University of Saskatchewan welcomed wrestlers from across Canada to compete for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport wrestling national championships Mar. 2-5 .

The women’s side was dominated by a deep, heavily talented team from the University of Calgary, while on the men’s side, a tie-breaker was needed to determine who got the crown as best team in the country, with the top three teams nestled within two points of each other after all matches were completed.

Dinos captain Andrea Ross and rookie Genevieve Haley picked up gold, while Brandy Ens, Justine Bouchard, Stephanie Buchan, Leah Callahan and Megan Goldsmith won silver.

The victory by Calgary, their first since 2001, ended a run of four-straight by Simon Fraser University and represented the hard work and commitment of the Dino girls, said their head coach Mitch Ostberg.

“It’s a very good feeling because of the way the athletes performed,” he said. “We had some athletes make the national finals who I wouldn’t necessarily have suspected.”

Ostberg got the nod for women’s coach of the year, while Todd Hinds from Saskatchewan took the men’s. Rookie of the year accolades went to Calgary’s Gen Haley for the women and Regina’s Cory Horsburgh for the men.

The competition could not have been much closer on the men’s side of the tournament, as Brock, SFU and the host Huskies created a log jam on top.

The Dinos men’s wrestling team placed tenth overall. Nathan Bodewitz had the highest individual placing for the Dinos. He finished fourth in the 82 kg weight class.

In his fifth-year of CIS competition, Dinos men’s captain Jeremiah Barnert came away with sixth in the 68 kg class.

In the end it was Brock that once again claimed the team title over SFU. The two tied rival wrestling schools had 53 team points, but Brock came away with the gold after winning more individual gold medals. This is the ninth consecutive year that Brock has won the trophy.

Brock head coach Richard DesChatelets said that while this is a huge victory for Brock as a team, this weekend was all about 54 kg gold medalist Jamie Macari.

“I think that James Macari has done something outstanding,” DesChatelets noted. “Nobody else in the history of Canadian wrestling has ever won five Ontario championships and five CIS championships consecutively. It’s something that should be honoured; it is history in the making.”

For his record-setting effort, Macari was named outstanding male wrestler of the tournament, while he also earned the R.W. Pugh award for fair play.

The outstanding female wrestler honour went to 48 kg Concordia grappler Hana Askren, while Jenn Hanson of Brock won the women’s fair play award.

Even though the hometown U of S Huskies placed third in the country, they managed the most gold medals of the competition with three. Ryley Walker, Jeff Adamson and Keith Folkerson were all crowned champions. After his match, an emotional Folkerson tried to put his win and the team’s success into perspective.

“Having Jeff Adamson as a wrestling partner for the last 12 years of my career has made a big difference for me, because he is one of the best wrestlers in the country,” he said. “When you have guys that push you that hard, that’s what creates the heart on this team. That’s why we win– that’s Saskatchewan wrestling.”

For the next two years, the U of C will play host to the CIS national wrestling championships. Expect a younger men’s side to get better with age, and an experienced women’s side to defend their title.

with files from Jon Roe

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