The Dinner and Auction is a very important fundraiser for the Society when it comes to covering the costs incurred with running a Junior A Hockey Team.
31st Wrestling Invitational A Great Success
The 31st Annual Alberni Invitational Wrestling Tournament is in the books and by all variables it was another outstanding event. While overall entries were down to less than 500, in large part to increased travel costs and shrinking budgets for sports in many Districts, the quality of competition was still high. Alberni wrestlers turned in some incredible performances and displayed the character and sportsmanship they are known for. Organizationally the Invitational was once again a huge success in large part due to the amazing volunteers and tremendous support from the businesses and organizations of our community.
On the mats local wrestlers captured 21 medals and placed 43 wrestlers in the top 6 placings of their weight classes. The ADSS Girls won the Juvenile division while the ADSS Boys minus the injured Nolan Badovinac were third in Juvenile. Dunn won the School Girl division and were 4th in School Boys while Neill was third in girls and second in the boys. ADSS was shut out in the Cadet Division this year.
Individually, 6 of the local medals were gold. Winning their respective age and weight divisions were ADSS wrestlers Jordan Wagner and Remi Wells at 57 kg in Juvenile boys and Juvenile girls. Wagner was completely dominant in his weight winning all his matches handily. In the final is schooled a tough Cam Liptrot of Nanaimo and won on a superior decision. Wells had a tougher final as she was up against BC champion Faye Tuck also of Nanaimo. Wells came from behind a 6 point deficit in the second round to win in the final seconds. Wells performance earned her the selection as the Most Outstanding Female in the Juvenile division this year.
“Remi showed some real poise and experience in the final,” said head ADSS coach John McDonald, “Faye is an excellent wrestler and Remi just didn’t get flustered or down. She picked away at the lead one takedown at a time and pulled it out when she needed to. That is a real confidence boost for her going into the BC in 3 weeks. We were very happy for her.”
Three local girls won School Girl gold with victories at 36 kg, 45 kg and 62 kg. Anna Frost of Dunn took the 36 kg school girl title while teammate Kylea Anderson was first at 62 kg. Neill’s Lily Timothy won the 45 kg weight. Seth Price of Neill took the championship at 36 kg in the School Boy division.
Five Alberni wrestlers captured silver medals at the Invitational. Two time BC champion Jesse Wagner lost a hard fought battle with fellow BC champion Oscar Bulaqui of North Vancouver in the Juvenile boys 54 kg final. Bulaqui is also a reigning National champion and jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on Wagner. Again showing the Port Alberni grit Wager came back strong in the second round but fell short 10-7. ADSS teammate Michel Kurucz did the same in her 60 kg Juvenile girls final against Brandy Perry of Carson Graham. Only a late mistake cost Kurucz a come from behind victory.
Neill school boy wrestlers Shane Leeper and Daniel Spencer took second place honours in their 49 kg and 59 kg weights respectively. Dunn’s Circe Campbell won a silver medal in the 45 kg school girl division.
Local wrestlers won 10 bronze medals at the 2014 Invitational. New comer Emma McGowan showed some real promise in placing third at 64 kg Juvenile girls. School girls Ally Flaro and Miranda Barker of Dunn were third at 42 kg and 53 kg with Neill’s Kiarra Charlesworth third at 58 kg. In the School Boy division bronze medals were claimed by Dunn wrestlers Isaac McDonald 41 kg, Jayden Iverson 56 kg, Aaron Badovinac 64 kg, Skyler Lynn 68 kg and Jayce Clayton 74 kg. Neill’s Leonard Nookemis was third at 59 kg.
Fourth place finishers were ADSS wrestlers Trevor Barker (Cadet 41 kg), Russell David (juvenile 54 kg), Johannes Kulich (juvenile 66 kg), Dean Leyland (juvenile 70 kg) and Lauren Barker (juvenile girls 57 kg). Adding fourths were Dunn Schools boys Ravi Manhas (34 kg), Harley Barkhouse (68 kg) and Jarod Gagon (74 kg) and Neill’s Kenji Boyko (36 kg), and Owen Spencer (38 kg). School girls Nevada Grist (Dunn 58 kg) and Dakota McKenzie (Neill 62 kg) were fourth in their weights.
Rounding out the top six placings were fifths from David Wilson (J 63 kg) and Christian Anderson (J 90 kg) of ADSS , Neill’s Gerrard Graham (SB 36 kg) and Scott Coulthart (SB 64 kg) and Dunn’s MacKenzie Boudreau (SG 42 kg), Shaunine D’Andrea (SG 58 kg) and Keyra McNeill (SG 62 kg). Sixth place finishers were Jarrod Beckett of ADSS at Juvenile 54 kg and Ethan Tramer and Skyler White of Dunn at School Boys 38 kg and 58 kg.
The 2014 Invitational also featured the very popular Elementary Division on Friday afternoon. Over 100 youngsters ages 7-11 participated in a very fun afternoon run by Alberni coaches Russ Bodnar and Jen Johnson. This division is the culmination of a month of practices where Bodnar and Johnson coordinate local high school and Meddle school wrestlers to coach the younger group. The program this year had sponsorship from the BC After School Sports Program and local company JAL Designs sponsored a shirt for every participant.
Despite their many years of success and accolades the 2015 Alberni Invitational Wrestling Tournament will likely see some major changes according Tournament Chair Tom McEvay. “We have many factors coming together to move us to make changes. The most powerful draw for us is our desire to connect our high school team and the overall program closer to their roots at Alberni District Secondary,” stated McEvay. “While our club has done a lot of the work for this event it is still a school wrestling tournament co-hosted by ADSS. People forget that Alberni Wrestling is 99% a school based program.”
McEvay continued, “ We ran this event at the old ADSS from 1983 to 1996 but it got too big and we moved to Glenwood. When it got too big for Glenwood we moved into the Multiplex in 2003. The Multiplex has been an awesome venue and the City has been fantastic to work with but with our numbers moving down and the new ADSS being such an amazing facility we felt it is time to move the event there. The students, staff and administration at ADSS are very supportive and excited as it can add another positive identity and promote s even more school spirit at ADSS. January will bring Totem Basketball and February will bring Invitational Wrestling. Both events celebrate student excellence in athletics but more importantly the value of sport to school culture and student pride.”
Planning for the 2015 Invitational will be happening behind the scenes in the weeks ahead but for now the major focus for the local wrestling program is the Island Championships on Saltspring Island this coming weekend and then the BC High School Championships in Prince George February 27 – March 1. Wrestlers who qualify for the BC’s at the Islands will leave for Prince George on February 26th and return March 2nd. Fortunately the local wrestlers are well known for their extensive fundraising which has allowed them to fly to the BC’s this year. Prince George was the site of ADSS’s first provincial wrestling title back in 1983.