PREVIEW 2010 CIS wrestling championships: Clan look for historic sweep, Bernard for historic 5th gold
Courtesy of University of Calgary sports information office
/ Photo credit David Moll
CALGARY (CIS) – Just once in history has one school won both the CIS women’s and men’s wrestling team titles in the same year, and the Simon Fraser Clan will look to duplicate that feat this week when the University of Calgary hosts the 2010 national championships, Friday and Saturday.
Championship web site: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wrest
Only the 2001-02 Brock Badgers have been able to pull the double since the introduction of CIS women’s wrestling in 1998-99. It remains the only women’s championship won by a team other than Simon Fraser or Calgary and it came in the middle of Brock’s 10-year supremacy in men’s competition.
That domination came to an end last season when the Clan knocked off the Badgers for the men’s team banner. As the 2010 event opens in the Jack Simpson Gym, Simon Fraser looks set to defend its men’s title and aims to reclaim the women’s crown won by the host Dinos in 2009.
The championships get underway with preliminary rounds on Friday, with placement and medal matches following Saturday. The bronze and gold medal matches will be webcast live beginning at 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time (1:30 p.m. ET) at www.educationcdn.com/schools/dinos.
The Clan teams come into the national championships with an advantage in numbers, qualifying women in all eight weight classes and men in nine of 10 categories.
The No. 1-ranked Calgary Dinos should present the largest threat to Simon Fraser on the women’s side but only qualified seven wrestlers through the Canada West championship, losing the conference title by just one point. The Western Mustangs join SFU as the only teams to qualify athletes in all eight women’s weight classes, while OUA champion Brock has wrestlers in seven of the eight divisions.
The Dinos will be hard-pressed to repeat their dominant performance from a year ago as they host the national meet for the third straight season. Calgary wrestlers took gold in six of the eight categories in 2009, led by CIS outstanding female wrestler Heidi Erdle at 59 kg. Erdle moved up to 63 kg in 2010 but was beaten by teammate Jessy Seida in the team qualification and did not compete at the Canada West championships. Seida finished second in the conference, qualifying for the CIS meet.
Calgary teammates Gen Haley (51 kg), Erica Wiebe (72 kg) and Leah Callahan (82 kg) represent three of the four returning champions from last year’s event, while Saskatchewan’s Jill Gallays (55 kg) rounds out that group. Haley is the three-time defending champion at 51 kg and is aiming to join a select group in winning four consecutive gold medals. One of the rising stars in Canadian wrestling, Haley defeated 2008 Olympic champion Carol Huynh in a head-to-head match earlier this season in Phoenix.
Alberta’s Ali Bernard is already part of that four-gold group and will look to become the first female wrestler in CIS history to win five national gold medals when she competes at 72 kg this weekend. Having already defeated Calgary’s Wiebe, the defending champion, at the Canada West event, Bernard looks poised to grab her fifth gold after transferring from the University of Regina. She last competed in 2008, winning gold at 82 kg.
Other female athletes to watch include Simon Fraser’s rookie sensation Victoria Anthony in the lightweight 48 kg division. A freshman from Huntington Beach, Calif., Anthony went undefeated at the Canada West meet and was named both the conference’s rookie of the year and outstanding wrestler.
Brock’s Laura Steffler was named the OUA outstanding wrestler after her provincial victory at 67 kg, while Larissa D’Alleva of the Western Mustangs earned Ontario rookie honours after a first-place finish at 63 kg. Both are top seeds in their pools.
Calgary and Simon Fraser have combined for 10 of the 11 CIS women’s championships since the inaugural meet in 1999.
The men’s event will see significant change atop the podium as only two gold medallists from 2009, Vince Cormier of UNB and Concordia’s David Tremblay, return to defend their titles.
Tremblay is the reigning CIS outstanding male wrestler after his dominant performance at 61 kg in his rookie season last year. A native of Stoney Point, Ont., Tremblay trades weight classes with Cormier in 2010 as he moves down to 57 kg.
Cormier is the two-time defending champion at 57 kg but has moved up a weight class and will look to take gold in the 61 kg category. UNB joins Simon Fraser as the two schools with nine men’s wrestlers in the meet, and fittingly they are ranked one-two heading into the CIS championships – with the Clan holding a slight edge in the rankings.
The two teams will go head-to-head in several events, including an intriguing 61 kg competition between Cormier and the reigning Canada West outstanding wrestler, Simon Fraser’s Raj Virdi. Cormier and Virdi are on the same side of the draw, meaning they will meet in a preliminary round on Friday in a match that will have a significant impact on the team point standings.
After ending Brock’s stranglehold on the men’s title last season Simon Fraser breezed through the Canada West championships, winning gold in six of the 10 weight classes. Along with Virdi, conference rookie of the year Mike Cappus was another strong performer with his first-place finish at 68 kg.
The Regina Cougars are ranked third in CIS behind SFU and UNB and qualified seven male wrestlers, but that number increased to eight when Jimmy Levesque was called up as an injury replacement for Calgary’s Spencer Watkins at 90 kg. Regina is joined by co-OUA champion Lakehead with eight athletes qualified, while Brock and Concordia each have seven.
Brock and Lakehead ended up in a dead heat for the OUA men’s championship with 59 points apiece, with the Thunderwolves taking a share of the provincial title for the first time in their history.
The Toronto Varsity Blues are sending just two wrestlers to Calgary but one of them is Shujon Mazumber, the OUA outstanding male wrestler. Mazumber beat out perennial contender Aaron Fabiano of Brock in the 54 kg final and will be the top Ontario seed in that weight class at the nationals.
Top rookie honours in OUA went to Jacob Jagas of the Guelph Gryphons, who took gold in the 68 kg division.
The 2010 CIS wrestling championships open with weigh-ins and medical checks on Thursday, March 4 before competition begins Friday morning in the Jack Simpson Gym.
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times LOCAL: Mountain Time)
Friday, March 5
10:00 Preliminaries Round 1 (Jack Simpson Gym)
13:00 Preliminaries Round 2 (Jack Simpson Gym)
15:30 Preliminaries Round 3 (Jack Simpson Gym)
Saturday, March 6
10:00 Classification matches 5th-8th place (Jack Simpson Gym)
11:30 Bronze-medal matches (Jack Simpson Gym) – Live webcast
13:30 Championship finals (Jack Simpson Gym) – Live webcast
18:30 All-Canadian Awards Dinner (MacEwan Ballroom)
WRESTLERS BY SCHOOL
8 – Simon Fraser, Western
7 – Calgary, Brock
5 – Regina
4 – Concordia, Lakehead
3 – Alberta, UNB, Guelph
1 – Toronto, McMaster, McGill, Saskatchewan
9 – Simon Fraser, UNB
8 – Lakehead, Regina
7 – Brock, Concordia
6 – Alberta, Guelph
5 – McMaster
4 – Saskatchewan
3 – Calgary
2 – Toronto, Memorial
1 – McGill, Queen’s, Western
PAST CIS TEAM CHAMPIONS
Women (first championship in 1998-99)
2007-08 Simon Fraser
2005-06 Simon Fraser
2004-05 Simon Fraser
2003-04 Simon Fraser
2002-03 Simon Fraser
Men (last 20 years)
2008-09 Simon Fraser
1998-99 to 2007-08 Brock won 10 straight titles
1989-90 Western Ontario & Concordia (co-champions)
PAST CIS WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR (last 10 years)
2008-09 Heidi Erdle, Calgary
2007-08 Miranda Dick, Simon Fraser
2006-07 Hana Askren, Concordia
2005-06 Emily Richardson, Simon Fraser
2004-05 Ellen Macro, McMaster
2003-04 Martine Dugrenier, Concordia
2002-03 Tara Hedican, Guelph
2001-02 Tara Hedican, Guelph
2000-01 Breanne Graham, Calgary
1999-00 Julie Harris, Calgary
2008-09 David Tremblay, Concordia
2007-08 Dustyn Fisher, Simon Fraser
2006-07 Jamie Macari, Brock
2005-06 Sheldon Francis, McMaster
2004-05 Ryan Weicker, Brock
2003-04 Adam Fera, Brock
2002-03 David Kooperberg, Calgary
2001-02 John Rice, Regina
2000-01 Ryan Weicker, Brock
1999-00 Scott Seeley, UNB