Brock University wrestling has been one of a kind for the last 20 years and it was no different for this year’s 2014 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) wrestling championships as the Badgers won double gold for the first time since 2002.
“This weekend, the Brock wrestling team dominated, capturing seven gold, four silver and a bronze. [On day one], the team won 35 of their 40 matches. Crazy!” said Brock University director of athletics, Robert Hilson.
Since 1994, the Brock Badgers’ men’s wrestling team had won an amazing 12 CIS wrestling championships, including a run that saw them win 10 consecutive titles from 1999-2008. However, since their incredible 10 consecutive championships, the Badgers had not won a national championship since and were looking to achieve this ultimate feat once again. Not to be overshadowed by the men’s team, the women’s team has won three CIS championships since 1999 and were looking to make it three national championships in a row at this year’s tournament.
Brock has had much success in this championship in the past as they have been well represented in almost every category. This year was no different as Brock was represented in six of the eight weight classes in the women’s category. Also, on the women’s side the Badgers had two 2013 CIS gold medallist’s that they were looking to rely on in Jade Parsons (Orillia, Ont.) and Carlene Sluberski (Fredonia, NY.).
It may come as a surprise that Brock is listed as the number one team in the country for both the men and women’s category after finishing in second at the OUA championships, but the amount of talent that they possess truly exemplifies why they are ranked number one.
Brock’s men’s team has a pair of 2013 CIS gold medallists as Javon Balfour (Brampton, Ont.) and Matrixx Ferreira (Ajax, Ont.) returned to the 2014 championships eager to win another gold medal. Balfour is only in his second season at Brock and is getting better by the day. After being named as a 2013 CIS First-Team All Canadian, he is likely to continue this trend until graduation.
For the first time in the championships history, the 2014 wrestling championships was hosted by the University of New Brunswick and held at the Richard J. Center in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Heading into the championships as the men’s and women’s top-ranked wrestling teams in the country, Brock did not disappoint as they got out to a solid lead on the first day as they won an amazing 35 of their 40 matches. After day one of the tournament, the Brock men’s and women’s team led the standings with an incredible 11-point lead.
After winning both her preliminary matches, Parsons was now on her way to the gold medal match against Madison Parks (Brantford, Ont.) of Western in the 48 kg’s final. Marissa Sorrell (St. Catharines, Ont.) also found her way in the gold medal match in the 67 kg final as she had an impressive two pins in the preliminary round.
Other female Badgers that found themselves in medal matches after the preliminary sessions were Carlene Sluberski (Fredonia, NY.), Jessica Brouillette (Barrie, Ont.) and Olivia DiBacco (Orillia, Ont.). All three of these ladies had two wins for nine points in their two primary matches.
Brock’s men’s team was no different than the women’s team as they also had an impressive first day of competition. After day one, the Badgers managed 56 points to take an 11-point lead over the reigning national champion Alberta and OUA gold medallist Guelph University.
Numerous wrestlers led Brock after an impressive day one as they had six different wrestlers looking to win gold on day two of competition. These wrestlers included: Sam Jagas (Kitchener, Ont.) in the 54 kg final, Brian Cowan (Dorchester, Ont.) in the 57 kg final, Balfour (68 kg final), Tyler Rowe (Barrie, Ont.) in the 72 kg final, Ferreira (82 kg final) and Andrii Vorontsov (Russia) in the 90 kg final.
With high expectations heading into day two of competition, Brock was ready and focused to take home two national championship banners.
In the female division, Brock had five wrestlers in gold medal matches and within those five matches they managed to take home three gold medals. Parsons continued her dominance of university competition as she once again took home a CIS gold medal defeating Parks 3-1.
The Badgers’ Sluberski dominated as she pinned Calgary’s Katie Richey (Smithers, B.C.) to win the female 51 kg gold medal. Brouillette added to Brock’s gold medals on the day as she managed to win the female 59 kg in impressive fashion.
Falling just short of gold were Sorrell and DiBacco as both of them lost in the gold medal final to capture silver medals. With three gold medals and two silver medals in the eight female categories, this was more than enough to capture their third consecutive CIS wrestling championship. Brock dominated the tournament winning the championships by 14-points over Calgary. With this victory, Brock is the first school since Simon Fraser to three-peat, which last did so when they won four consecutive titles from 2003-2006.
With the female team taking home the gold medal, the men’s team was looking to follow suit and become the first school to double gold since Simon Fraser in 2010.
Brock did not disappoint as they prevailed with four gold, two silvers and one bronze medal on day two of competition. Leading the way for Brock in the gold medal department was Jagas, Cowan, Balfour and Ferreira. Falcioni captured the one bronze medal for Brock, while Rowe and Vorontsov captured silvers.
With seven medals in 10 divisions, Brock blew away the field en route to winning their 14th national title and 13th in the past 20 years. Brock finished with 66 total points, which was 16 points ahead of the reigning national champion Alberta and 18 points ahead of Guelph.
“This is a great day for the Brock Wrestling Program, Brock Athletics and Brock University,” said Hilson. “With the two National Championship banners today, Brock reached the 100 Championship milestone in our 50-year history [with] 33 National and 67 Provincial,” said Hilson.
Not only did Brock capture both team gold medals, but they were also rewarded individually. Brock’s head coach Marty Calder took home both the men’s and women’s CIS head coach of the year award, while Sam Jagas won the CIS male rookie of the year and Jessica Brouillette won the CIS female rookie of the year.
“This program continues to build champions by virtue of a strong commitment from our staff including coaches, strength and conditioning coaches and trainers that help to develop these student-athletes into champions,” said Calder to gobadgers.ca.
After capturing silver medals at the OUA wrestling championships on Feb. 16, it was a great comeback to capture both gold medals at nationals. With the incredible performance this past weekend, there is no question that Brock University is the interuniversity capital for wrestling in Canada.