Four 'Wolves women head to CIS Championships
Head coach Brock Curtis and his Thunderwolves wrestling teams will close their 2009-10 season this Friday and Saturday at the University of Calgary-hosted CIS Wrestling Championships at Calgary.
After winning a share of their provincial title with the Brock Badgers two weeks ago at London, Ontario, the Lakehead men’s team will send eight grapplers to the event, enough to put them in strong contention for a spot on the national podium. The team was fourth last year. The women’s squad will be a outnumbered with their four competitors but have assembled a quality team that will aim for solid individual results after finishing sixth as a team last year.
“The team is looking great, and they're relatively healthy,” says OUA men’s coach of the year Curtis. “Athletes who won gold at OU’s are looking to medal and/or win gold at the CI’s. For those who placed at the OU's, and in fact for all of our athletes, this is a great chance for them to gain valuable experience at championship tournaments, to learn exactly what they need to do during the off-season and to catch those athletes ahead of them.
Our wrestlers are exciting to watch, and I look forward to some big matches this weekend!”
The championships get underway with preliminary rounds on Friday and with placement and medal matches following on Saturday. The bronze and gold medal matches will be webcast live beginning at 1:30 p.m. EST at www.educationcdn.com/
Leading the way for the men’s team is a trio of OUA gold medalists. Junior Gaston Tardif (Calgary) is hoping for a triumphant return to his hometown in the 57 kg weight class, an accomplishment his former teammate Huy Nguyen managed to do twice in 2008 and 2007. Tardif has been one of the squad’s most consistent performers throughout the year and after winning a CIS silver last year is again one of the favourites for gold.
Up one weight class in the 61 kg division is freshman Dustin Helwig (Belfountain, Ontario). Already an OUA champion, Helwig was named Thunderwolves February Athlete of the Month and is seeking a strong end to his debut year. With the potential to become one of the Thunderwolves program’s top all-time competitors, he started the year at 57 kg but with Tardif already contending there, he shifted up to maximize his teams’ chances at securing more gold medals. The move paid off at the OUAs and may pay off again at the CIS meet.
Senior Corey Lee (La Salle, Ontario) is at the peak of his game this season after winning the conference title at 82 kg and will be seeking his second medal on the national level and first since a bronze in 2007 as a freshman. He finished fourth last year. With brother Chadd injured and unable to defend his 72 kg title, Corey has extra incentive to add some hardware to the Lee family trophy case.
The ‘Wolves men will send five others to the meet including: heavyweight silver medalist freshman Preston Mikulasik (Thunder Bay) who overcame a severe knee injury that threatened to end his season; 54 kg bronze medal-winning sophomore Steve Gross (Cambridge, Ontario); freshman bronze medalist in the 65 kg division Jason Bresele (Thunder Bay); a second freshman bronze-winner Scott Christian (Brampton, Ontario) who won the 68 kg group; and junior Brandon Gardner (Thunder Bay), the team’s bronze medal winner in the 90 kg weight class.
Lakehead’s depth will serve them well as they face defending-champion Simon Fraser and other top rivals including UNB, Regina, Brock, and Concordia. “The competition is tight,” says coach Curtis. “We're ranked fourth, right now and tied with Concordia, and I know that the difference between the top-six teams will be very close.”
On the women’s side, a smaller group of athletes will be looking to continue building the Thunderwolves program after winning a team bronze at the OUA Championships. Two Lakehead women won gold medal at the provincials and will look to contend for top spot at Calgary.
Sophomore Aislynn Torfason (Winnipeg) was fifth in the 63 kg weight class last year and is seeking a podium spot down one weight class against 59 kg competition. With an OUA gold on her resume, Torfason appears bound for even greater things as her CIS career continues.
Lakehead earned a silver in the 82 kg division last year, but not from the competitor that the team has fielded this season. Senior Nicole Plummer (Windsor, Ontario) will look to parlay her OUA championship to success on the national scene, one year after teammate Emma Brightwell was second in this weight class.
OUA silver medalist Katelyn Proulx (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) will compete in the 72 kg group. The Thunderwolves RBC February Athlete of the Month for women’s wrestling, senior Proulx had a coming-out party with her podium finish after substituting for the injure Brightwell in her weight class.
Junior Laurel Knowles (Desbarats, Ontario) won OUA bronze in the 68 kg division and rounds out the Thunderwolves’ roster for Calgary.
Last Edited: March 8th, 2010
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