Conference wrestling championships head to Saskatoon

Conference wrestling championships head to Saskatoon

Canada West Communications

Highlights:

  • The 2017 Canada West Wrestling Championships will take place this Friday and Saturday at the Physical Activity Complex on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan
  • The Saskatchewan Huskies (men’s) and Calgary Dinos (women’s) are looking to defend their conference titles from a season ago
  • Joining the Huskies and Dinos are: the Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas, Fraser Valley Cascades, Regina Cougars, and Winnipeg Wesmen

EDMONTON – Canada West’s top wrestlers are headed to Saskatoon this weekend, as the conference wrestling championships descend on the University of Saskatchewan. 

Action runs Friday through Saturday at the Physical Activity Complex, with both days of the competition also available via webcast at CanadaWest.tv

COMPLETE SCHEDULE 

Looking to defend their 2016 Canada West titles are the host Saskatchewan Huskies on the men’s side, while the University of Calgary Dinos take aim at a third consecutive championship on the women’s side.

Aiming to help lead the Huskies back to the top of the conference are a pair of defending gold medalists in Josh Bodnarchuk (54 kg) and Andrew Johnson (82 kg). 

Bodnarchuk enters the weekend looking to add to an already impressive university resume, as the third-year athlete was also a national champion during the 2015-16 season in addition to topping the conference podium.

For Calgary, leading the charge in their search for another conference banner are two returning gold medalists – Cara Nania (55kg) and Tianna Kennett (59kg).

Nania is no stranger to the conference championships, as the fifth-year athlete captured gold the last two seasons to help the Dinos to their recent string of titles on the women’s side.

Along with the Huskies and Dinos, four other Canada West schools are sending contingents to Saskatoon in search of conference bragging rights.

Alberta, whose most recent titles came in 2015 (men’s) and 2014 (women’s), is sending a full squad, with 15 men and 12 women headed to the Bridge City looking to challenge for Canada West titles.

Also sending squads to Saskatoon are the Regina Cougars (11 men, eight women), Winnipeg Wesmen (eight men, eight women), and the Fraser Valley Cascades (five men, three women).

Wrestlers hit the mat at 9 a.m. Friday, with matches running through Saturday afternoon.

 

Recent Canada West and national champions

MEN'S

SEASON (click for year in review) CANADA WEST CHAMPION (total CW titles won)
NATIONAL CHAMPION (titles won by CW schools)
2015-16 Saskatchewan (4) Brock
2014-15 Alberta (9) Brock
2013-14 Alberta (8) Brock
2012-13 Alberta (7) Alberta (4)
2011-12 Regina (10) Concordia

 

WOMEN'S

SEASON (click for year in review) CANADA WEST CHAMPION (total CW titles won)
NATIONAL CHAMPION (titles won by CW schools)
2015-16 Calgary (10) Brock
2014-15 Calgary (9) Brock
2013-14 Alberta (3) Brock
2012-13 Alberta (2) Brock
2011-12 Alberta (1) Brock


Team previews

University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas

2016 CW finish: 2nd (Men’s), 3rd (Women’s)

2016 nationals finish: 5th (Men’s), 6th (Women’s)

Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2015 / 10 (men’s), 2014 / 3 (women’s)

Last national championship / total national championships: 2013 / 4 (men’s), 2011 / 1 (women’s)

 

Number of competitors: 27 total (15 men, 12 women)

Returning CW gold medalists

Men: none

Women: none

 

Key additions (name / event / eligibility / hometown):

Men:

Marcus Peterson / 68kg / 3rd / Brooks, AB

Miles Kent / 72kg / 1st / Morrisville, North Carolina

Nicholas Pellegrino/ 1st / Cypress, Texas

Women:

Taylor Rosario / 85kg / 1st / Houston, Texas

Natalie Nelson / 63kg / 1st / Burnaby, BC

 

Key performer:

Marcus Peterson

3rd-year

Brooks, Alta.

The U SPORTS No. 2 Alberta Golden Bears will try and continue to rack up Canada West medals, but will have to do so without three-time CIS Most Outstanding Wrestler Michael Asselstine. First-year Bear Marcus Peterson, however, has shown tremendous promise early in his U SPORTS career at filling that void. The Brooks, Alberta native captured a gold medal at the annual Golden Bears Open, helping the Bears capture their first title since 2013 earlier this season, and has two other top five finishes.

 

University of Calgary Dinos

2016 CW finish: 3rd (men’s), 1st (women’s)

2016 nationals finish: 5th (men’s), 2nd (women’s)

Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2003 / 5 (men’s), 2016 / 10 (women’s)

Last national championship / total national championships: N/A (men’s), 2009 / 5 (women’s)

 

Number of competitors: 20 total (11 men, 9 women)

Returning CW gold medalists

Men: Nick Proctor – 90kg, Callum McNeice – 65kg

Women: Cara Nania – 55kg, Tianna Kennett – 59kg

 

Key additions (name / event / eligibility / hometown):

Men: Conlan Foy / 65kg / 1st / Prince George, B.C.

Women: Sydney Summach / 72kg / 1st / Saskatoon, Sask.

 

Key performer:

Nick Proctor

5th-year

Calgary, Alta.

Proctor finished last year with a Canada West gold medal in the 90kg weight class. He also finished in fourth-place at the CIS Championships when he lost the 90kg bronze medal to Brock’s Clayton Pye.

 

Cara Nania

5th-year

Calgary, Alta.

Nania is a returning Canada West gold medallist in the 55kg weight class. In her fifth-year, she will be expected to lead by example at the 2017 Canada West Championships. 

 

University of the Fraser Valley Cascades

2016 CW finish: 6th (men’s), 6th (women’s)

2016 nationals finish: N/A

Last CW championship / total CW championships: N/A

Last national championship / total national championships: N/A

 

Number of competitors: Eight (five men, three women)

Returning CW gold medalists: none

 

Key additions

Men:

Amtoj Dhaliwal / 82 kg / 1st / Abbotsford, B.C. 

Women:

Karla Godinez Gonzalez / 51 kg / 1st / Surrey, B.C.

 

Key performer:

Brad Hildenbrandt

2nd-year

Surrey, B.C.

Sophomore heavyweight Brad Hildenbrandt has posted the best individual results for the University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program in 2016-17. He’s climbed the podium at each of the three conference tournaments he’s attended this season, earning silver at the Dinos Invitational in October, and gold at both the Golden Bears Invitational and the Cascades Classic in January.

 

University of Regina Cougars

2016 CW finish: 5th (men’s), 4th (women’s)

2016 nationals finish: 10th (men’s), 5th (women’s)

Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2012 / 10 (men’s), N/A (women’s)

Last national championship / total national championships: 1998 / 2 (men’s), N/A (women’s)

 

Number of competitors: 19 total (11 men, 8 women)

Returning CW gold medalists:

Men: Gaelan Malloy (72kg)

Women: none

 

Key additions (name / event / eligibility / hometown):

Men:

Jordan Tholl / 1st / Regina, Sask.

Paul Tokarz / 57kg / 1st / Regina, Sask.

Women:

Olivia-Ann McDonnell / 72kg / Maple Ridge, B.C.

Inga Van Vliet / 82kg / 4th / Regina, Sask.

Key performer: Gaelan Malloy (5th year / Regina, Sask. / 90kg)

 

University of Saskatchewan Huskies

2016 CW finish: 1st (men’s), 2nd (women’s)

2016 nationals finish: 6th (men’s), 4th (women’s) 

Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2016 / 2 (men’s), None (women’s)

Last national championship / total national championships: None (men’s), None (women’s)

 

Number of competitors: 19 total (11 men, 8 women)

Returning CW gold medalists

Men:

Josh Bodnarchuk – 54kg

Andrew Johnson – 82kg 

Women:

Annie Monteith – 48kg

Katie Dutchak – 51kg

 

Key additions (name / event / eligibility / hometown):

Men:

Zachary Bieber / 54kg / 1 / Prince Albert, SK

Donovan Dale / 130kg / 5 / Saskatoon, SK

Ayobami Peluola / 61kg / 1 / Saskatoon, SK

Women:

Hilary Palchewich / 72kg / 1 / Saskatoon, SK

 

Key performer:

Josh Bodnarchuk, 57kg

3rd

Saskatoon, SK

Crowned conference and national champion in his first two seasons, Josh Bodnarchuk will look to continue his dominance in the 54kg weight class. Josh has also been named Canada West Rookie of the Year and Canada West Male Athlete of the Year.

 

Andrew Johnson, 82kg

5th

Saskatoon, SK

Three-time Canada West medalist Andrew Johnson will look to defend his 2016 conference gold medal on home soil. The Engineering student, who is a leader on-and-off the mat for the Huskies, has been named an all-academic throughout his career. With the Huskies team title in 2016, Johnson joined his father as a conference champion.

 

Katie Dutchak, 48kg

4th

Saskatoon, SK

Two-time Canada West silver medalist and reigning Canada West Female Athlete of the Year, Katie Dutchak returns from injury to compete at the conference championship at home. Dutchak has a national bronze medal under her belt.

 

University of Winnipeg Wesmen

2016 CW finish: 4th (men’s), 5th (women’s)

2016 nationals finish: 8th (men’s), 8th (women’s)

Last CW championship / total CW championships: none

Last national championship / total national championships: none

 

Number of competitors: 16 (8, men, 8 women)

Returning CW gold medalists

Men:  Alexandr Sofronov (76 kg), Finn Higgins (100 kg)

Women: None


Key additions:

Men:

Lonnie Albertson / 61kg / 1st / Fort Calhoun, Nevada

Aram Villegas / 54kg / 1st / Elko, Nevada

Women:

Maddison Haney / 67kg / 1st / Barrie, Ontario

 

Key performer:

Finn Higgins

3rd

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 

Third-year men’s wrestler Finn Higgins will head into the 2017 Canada West Wrestling Championships looking for his third consecutive gold medal at the conference level. Higgins is the two-time defending gold medal winner at both the CW and U SPORTS Championships. During the 2016-17 regular season schedule, Higgins won four gold medals (Fraser Valley, Alberta, Winnipeg, and Calgary) in the 100kg weight class. Regarded as one of the top wrestlers in the country, Higgins will look to add the three-peat to his collection.