During reading week, the Badgers Men’s and Women’s Wrestling teams came home with excitement as they have officially brought two new banners to hang up with pride. Both teams dominated at the OUA Championship in Sault Ste. Marie held at Algoma University’s George Leach Centre. This was an exciting time for the Badgers as they had a big upset last year when the McMaster Marauders men’s team stole the championship banner from the Badgers men’s team.
The Badgers were able to reclaim their title, as Brock was able to collect 95 points destroying the Marauders who earned 81 points during the championship. Placing third overall in the men’s division, the Guelph Gryphons were able to earn a reputable 72 points during the championship.
On the Women’s side, the Badgers were able to dominate as they collected 78 points to give them the first place position while they earned seven gold medals and one silver medal. Head coach Marty Calder commented that this was the best outcome that the women’s team has ever had. Trailing behind them were the Gryphons who were accounted for 49 points, and the Western Mustangs took the third place spot as they collected 32 points.
Overall, the Badgers returned home with an impressive 13 gold medals and five other medals in the championship. They medaled in 18 of 19 weight classes.
Coach Calder was very impressed with his team as he pointed out that Matt Jagas and Ignatius Pitt dominated when they faced their opponents throughout the whole match. While on the flip side, coach Calder felt that they faced some low points when Sam Jagas and Tyler Rowe came up short on a victory.
He felt that both players were capable of walking away with the win but hopes that they can avenge their losses this weekend during the CIS Championships.
Coach Calder also commented on wrestler Jevon Balfour saying, “He was nearly untouchable while Brian Cowan looked very tough to beat. [On the women’s side], Olivia Di Bacco will be an odds favourite to handle the field at the CIS [Championships].”
But it wasn’t just medals that the Badgers went home with during the OUA’s. The Badgers were able to add to their achievements as Head Coach Marty Calder was recognized as the Male and Female Coach of Year. As well, Badgers Clayton Pye and Carmella Fleurant earned the titles of Male and Female Rookie of the Year, respectively.
Fast forwarding to this week, Brock University has the privilege this year of holding the CIS National Championship as the Badgers will welcome a packed house full of competitive wrestlers from various universities around Canada.
As the championship will be held at Brock, the wrestling team needs to prove their strength, as they don’t want to be beaten in their own home.
“We need to be hungry. Hungry athletes are always dangerous. The CIS is a very prestigious title and if we show up [this] week to win, we will be in the running. Showing up scared to lose won’t work!”
But this should be no difficult task at hand for the Badgers; last year they became the first school in CIS wrestling history to sweep the men’s and women’s national championship team banners in consecutive years, following their authoritative performance at the 2015 meet held in the University of Alberta’s historic Main Gym.
The Badgers did so well last year that both the men’s and women’s team clinched the winning title well before the gold medal games.
Four of Brock’s gold medals were won on the women’s side, including Jade Parsons’ fourth straight in the 48-kilogram weight class, and her fifth CIS podium overall after she also collected silver at 51 kg in 2009 when she was named rookie of the year while competing for the University of Regina.
Also finishing on the top of the podium for the Badgers was Carlene Sluberski (55 kg), Indira Moores (59 kg) and Jessica Brouillette (63 kg). Sluberski has now won gold in each of her three CIS campaigns (55 kg, 51 kg, 55 kg), while Brouillette defended the 63 kg title she claimed as a rookie two years ago.
With no surprise the men’s side is sitting in first place in the top 10 CIS rankings. Outside of OUA schools, Alberta is ranked third, Saskatchewan fourth, Calgary fifth, Winnipeg eighth, and Regina ninth.
For the women’s side, the Badgers are also sitting in the first place position while Calgary is ranked second, Saskatchewan third, Alberta fifth, Regina seventh and Winnipeg eighth.
The Badgers will fight to keep their titles on February 26 and 27 in the Bob Davis Gymnasium. Tickets are being sold but encouraged to be purchased quickly as it is expected to be a full crowd.
Assistant Sports Editor