Hell’s henchmen

By Kris Kotarski

There’s an easy way to evaluate the talent of this year’s wrestling team. All you have to do is get on the mat with them. Unfortunately, the Gauntlet doesn’t offer medical insurance so the wrestlers themselves gave us the best evaluation of their abilities and their chances heading into Canada West Finals (CWs) on Feb. 22-25 and the National Championships (CIs) on Mar. 2-3.

54kg: Pat Yau
– while short, Yau is tough as nails
– has the right attitude, leaves it all on the mat
Current Ranking: unranked
Prediction: Yau can medal at CWs and go on to CIs

57kg: Mike Stitt
– dynamic wrestling style includes a potent offence and blinding leg attack
– "zone of terror" (read: upper body) leaves opponents perplexed
Current Ranking: first
Prediction: Stitt has a shot at winning both the CWs and CIs

61kg: Joe "Gooey" Loucks
– tough veteran finishing his injury-riddled career
– fiery temper and national experience make him very dangerous
– moved down from 65kg to better his chances
Current Ranking: unranked
Prediction: Loucks is a contender for the CW title and a good bet to impress at CIs

65kg: Kristian Leach
– his bench-press prowess should show on the mat
– old school style for this newest Dino
– went up a weight class to make room for Loucks
Current Ranking: unranked
Prediction: Leach will have trouble in the tougher weight class, but look for a strong performance at CWs

68kg: Mat Farrell
– unorthodox style confuses opponents
– strength is on the ground
– his skinniness is deceiving
Current Ranking: third
Prediction: Farrell should win CWs and medal at the CIs

72kg: David Kooperberg
– dedication to his workouts (abs and squats) will prove too much for his opponents
– excellent leg defence makes him almost unstoppable
Current Ranking: first
Prediction: Kooperberg will squash all who oppose him

76kg: Hakan Kadir
– unpredictable but very talented
– needs to step up at the end of the year
– this Turkish brute has a taste for blood
Current Ranking: third
Prediction: Kadir will be a finalist
in CW competition and can medal at CIs

82kg: "Big Bad" Brad Neve
-team captain, fifth-year leader
-large upper body and buffalo-like cranium makes him tough to get around
-last chance at greatness
Current Ranking: first
Prediction: Neve should lead the Dinos and medal at CIs

90kg: Anthony "Bella" Baldwin
– usually wrestles at 76kg, but moved up to help the team
– can do very well, even in heavier weight class
– incredibly tough (once wrestled with a broken leg)
Current Ranking: unranked
Prediction: Baldwin will wrestle bigger and more experienced foes, but look for him to do well at CWs
Heavyweight: Jeremy
"Torpedo" Rudeck
– patient and intelligent style
– oddly-shaped shoulderless body gives him an advantage in launching leg attacks
– despite his large stature, he moves like a puma
Current Ranking: sixth
Prediction: Rudeck should finish top three in the CWs on his way to placing at CIs

48kg: Kate "Rocker" Walker
– this rookie performer is an inquisitive wrestler
– working on cutting down to 105lbs of wrestling fury
Current Ranking: unranked
Prediction: Expected to win CWs and looking for a medal at CIs

53kg: Brittanee "Brat" Leverdure
– once she gets going there’s no turning back
– single-handedly punishes team-mates at practice
– smooth as a hacksaw
Current Ranking: unranked
Prediction: Her name will be heard across the land after CIs where she’ll medal

57kg: Melissa "Superfats" Kindratsky
– captain returns after year-long back injury
– gets people on their backs and they don’t get up
Current Ranking: second
Prediction: Strong contender for a national title

61kg: Erika "Could kick the Rock’s ass" Sharp
– two-time national champion at 53kg
– moved up to give herself a challenge
– proven international performer with a silver medal at the World Championships
Current Ranking: second
Prediction: Will win it all and rub it in everyone’s face

65kg: Breanne "Bam Bam" Graham
– 61kg national champ
– moved up to help the team in the toughest weight class
Current Ranking: fourth
Prediction: Graham will challenge for a medal, perhaps even the gold

70kg: Bettina "Spaz" Perry
– beat out two teammates for her spot
– freshman from Ontario looking to return to her old stomping grounds
– could be a key component to beating Brock University
Current Ranking: unranked
Prediction: Could win CWs

77kg: Elise "Slow-mo" Comeau
– two-time national champion
– coming off a nasty injury
Current Ranking: first
Prediction: Expected to win CIs
Head Coach: Mitch Ostberg
– going to "um… uh…" do what he has to do, he knows what he has to do; and he will "um… uh…" get it done
Assistant Coach: Lee Vierling
– hard-ass with a wretched heart
– beats his athletes
– his endless energy and enthusiasm make his a force in the wrestling room

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