Wolves ready to start season at Mac
The Lakehead Thunderwolves wrestling program enters a new era of competition this Saturday as new head coach Brock Curtis leads his men's and women's teams into the McMaster Invitational at Hamilton. The tournament will be a good first test for the Wolves as they will have an opportunity to size up their conference rivals and some US competitors as they build towards the OUA Championships, February at Western and the CIS Championships at Calgary.
"The goals (at MacMaster) are simply to see what we need to fix and/or continue to work on," says coach Curtis. "I see these early tournaments as a critical part to our training as they expose our strengths and more importantly our weaknesses."
Several returning faces will merged with a strong group of freshman to lead the men's team this season as they look to build on their second place OUA and fourth place CIS results. The team brings back two of its three CIS medalists, with former national gold medalist Huy Nguyen moving on and becoming an assistant coach with the squad. CIS 72kg champion Chadd Lee of La Salle, Ontario returns, as does CIS 57kg silvers medalist Gaston Tardif of Calgary.
Corey Lee returns to join brother Chadd on the roster and after fifth and fourth place CIS results, Corey looks poised for the national podium as a junior, three years after winning bronze as a freshman while Colten Woznow was a CIS fifth place finisher in the 82kg division and should be a threat.
Joining the Thunderwolves this season are Thunder Bay wrestlers Alex Ross and Preston Mikuliak, and Dustin Schultz of Timmins, Ontario. Mikuliak, a heavyweight is expected to make an early impact and coach Curtis expects him to show his surprising speed for a big man at Mac.
Coach Curtis says that wrestlers Brandon Gardner, Steve Gross, Dustin Helwig, Angelo Daniele, Scott Christian, Jan Van Dipten, Jason Bresele and Jamie Funk, all sophomores, are expected to perform well this season after strong first years. Daniele was seventh in the CIS 61kg division.
CIS silver medalist Emma Brightwell highlights a talented Lakehead women's wrestling team that will look to build on their recent successes under the leadership of coach Curtis. The Thunderwolves finished seventh at the 2009 CIS championships with a third place podium finish at the OUA level.
Brightwell, a junior from Guelph, Ontario is the defending 82kg OUA champion and will be counted on to provide her team with leadership throughout the year. She is also a two-time Canadian junior champion.
Aislynn Torfason of Winnipeg enters her second season with the team after winning bronze (63kg) at the OUA championships last season while senior Nicole Plummer of Windsor, Ontario should also be a major contributor for the team. She is a two-time OUA gold medalist and was second (82kg) at the 2008 CIS championships.
Also looking to make an impact for the Wolves will be junior athlete Laurel Knowles from Desbarats, Ontario. She will be counted on to continue her development and looks ready for a breakout year.
New to Lakehead are Alynn Harel, Alexi Kreps, Sara Catani and Kaitlyn Pavlik. All four wrestlers hail from Thunder Bay and will give the Wolves depth as they look forward.
"I look forward to seeing our athletes in action," says coach Curtis. "I am so often impressed with them in the practice room, so I know there's going to be some exciting wrestling to watch. They're in good shape, and I expect them all to be wrestling with a lot of pressure on their opponents and taking advantage of their fitness."
Last Edited: March 8th, 2010
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