By Ben Matchett
The Dinos are hosting this year’s CIS wrestling championships at the University of Calgary—and they, and the Brock Badgers, are the teams to beat.
The Badgers, winners of nine straight CIS men’s titles, enters the event as the top-ranked team once again, featuring wrestlers in eight of 10 weight classes. The Dinos women, who re-established themselves as top of the class in CIS women’s wrestling with last year’s title, search for their fifth title in the 10 years that women’s wrestling has been a sanctioned CIS sport.
After winning their first national title since 2001 a year ago in Saskatoon, the Dinos cruised through Canada West competition again this season, winning their sixth conference title in nine years. Four wrestlers—Gen Haley, Vanessa Wilson, Justine Bouchard, and Jazzie Barker—won gold medals as Calgary qualified athletes in all eight weight categories for the national championships on their home floor.
Haley (51 kg) and Ross (55 kg) are the defending CIS champions in their weight classes, while Bouchard (63 kg) won hers in 2006 before finishing second last season. Bouchard shared the Canada West outstanding wrestler award in 2008 with Miranda Dick (55 kg) of SFU.
Calgary, Simon Fraser and Brock are the only three teams in history to have won a CIS women’s wrestling title, and they come into the weekend as the three top-ranked teams. In total, 55 female wrestlers will represent 12 CIS schools in Calgary.
The men’s title fight is shaping up to be a battle between the dynastic Badgers and the Lakehead Thunderwolves. Brock took its 14th consecutive OUA title two weeks ago in Hamilton with six gold medal performances and sends eight athletes to the national championships, while Lakehead qualified in all 10 divisions—the only team in the country to do so.
In total, 75 athletes representing 16 institutions will compete at the CIS wrestling championships.
The competition opens Friday, Feb. 29 at 10 a.m. in the University of Calgary’s Red Gym. Saturday features placement matches at 10 a.m., followed by bronze medal matches at 11:30 a.m. and the championship matches at 1:30 p.m.