Home Canada West University of Alberta dominates at Canada West Wrestling Championships

University of Alberta dominates at Canada West Wrestling Championships

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Jordan Wong was one of five individual gold medal winners for the Golden Bears capturing the title in the 54 kg category
Jordan Wong was one of five individual gold medal winners for the Golden Bears capturing the title in the 54 kg category (Don Voaklander/Alberta Golden Bears photo)

EDMONTON, Alta. (from Alberta Golden Bears/Pandas) – The host Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas topped the podium on Saturday, winning both the men’s and women’s Canada West Wrestling Championships in the University of Alberta’s Main Gym.

The conference championship for the Golden Bears is their 11th in program history, their second-consecutive, and fifth in the last six-years. The Canada West banner for the Pandas is their fourth overall, and first since 2014. This is the first time both the men and women’s titles were captured by the same institution since the Bears and Pandas earned both banners in 2013-14, when the championship was also held at the U of A.

The Golden Bears earned five individual gold medals on Saturday, as Jordan Wong (54 kg), Melvin Arciaga (57 kg), Aidan McKeage (76 kg), Nicholas Goleniec (82 kg), and Clayton Brinker (90 kg) all won their weight classes. The Pandas used a pair of individual winners to power themselves to the team title as well, with Krystin Paquette (59 kg) and Brandy Perry (72 kg) winning their respective weight classes.

Despite losing their final dual match to the Regina Cougars, the Bears still finished well ahead of the Cougars in the team standings, clearing Regina by ten points. The Saskatchewan Huskies (35 points), Calgary Dinos (30 points), and Fraser Valley Cascades (23 points) rounded out the men’s standings. Alberta’s 11 men’s titles are the most in Canada West history, one more than Regina’s 10.

Trailing the Huskies after day one, the Pandas finished their championship with an incredibly strong showing on Saturday, surpassing the Huskies for top spot in the women’s standings. The Huskies clinched the first two gold medals of the meet, as Alex Schell (48 kg) and Taylor Follensbee (82 kg) earned first-place finishes early on Saturday. However, the Huskies couldn’t manage another gold medal, as they were unable to hold of the surging Pandas.

Alberta’s 32 points were five more than the Huskies 27, ending the Huskies chances at a second-straight conference banner. The Calgary Dino women placed third with 22 points, followed by Regina (22), and Fraser Valley (15).

All five Canada West teams will now set their sights on the U SPORTS Championship, hosted by Algoma University February 23rd to 25th in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

TEAM RESULTS

Women

1. Alberta Pandas – 32 points
2. Saskatchewan Huskies – 27 points
3. Calgary Dinos – 22 points
4. Regina Cougars – 22 points
5. Fraser Valley Cascades – 15 points

Men

1. Alberta Golden Bears – 48 points
2. Regina Cougars- 36 points
3. Saskatchewan Huskies – 35 points
4. Calgary Dinos – 29 points
5. Fraser Valley Cascades – 23 points

MEN’S MAJOR AWARD WINNERS

Most Outstanding Wrestler

Callum McNiece
University of Calgary
3rd-year
72 kg
Cochrane, Alta.

A runner-up last season in the 72 kg division at the conference championships, Callum McNiece did one better this time around, as he wrestled his way to gold in Edmonton.

The third-year product is now looking to move up the national pecking order, as he hopes to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish at the U SPORTS championships.

Rookie of the Year

Jordan Wong
University of Alberta
1st-year
54 kg
Calgary, Alta.

Golden Bears rookie Jordan Wong is the CW Rookie of the Year after making the most of his CW debut. The top-ranked U SPORTS wrestler in the 54 kg weight class, Wong was one of five Alberta wrestlers to claim top spot on the podium.

Student-Athlete Community Service

Josh Bodnarchuk
University of Saskatchewan
4th-year
61 kg
Saskatoon, Sask.

Four-time CW medalist Josh Bodnarchuk takes home the conference’s top honour as a student-athlete thanks to his prowess on the mat, in the classroom, and the community. The 2015-16 CW Rookie of the Year earned his second consecutive conference gold this weekend, and is now looking to claim another U SPORTS national gold when he heads to the national championship in two weeks.

Bodnarchuk, who posted an 85 per cent average last semester, has been active in the Saskatoon wrestling community, helping lead a variety of learn to wrestle programs for elementary aged school groups. He is also an aboriginal ambassador for the Saskatoon Tribal Council Youth Leadership Camp, where he mentors young indigenous athletes.

Along with this work, Bodnarchuk is also a representative on the Huskie Athlete Council, where he works to promote a variety of causes both on campus and in the surrounding community.

Coach of the Year

Owen Dawkins
University of Alberta

In his ninth season at the helm of the Bears and Pandas, Owen Dawkins continues to rack up conference titles. The veteran head coach is both the men’s and women’s Coach of the Year after guiding both squads to conference titles. 2018 marked the first time since 2013-14 that the same school claimed both banners. The last time just happened to be when Alberta won both at home.

In nearly a decade leading Alberta, Dawkins has five men’s and four women’s conference titles to his name, with one national championship in each as well.

WOMEN’S MAJOR AWARD WINNERS

Most Outstanding Wrestler

Karla Godinez Gonzalez
University of the Fraser Valley
2nd-year
55 kg
Surrey, B.C.
Rookie of the Year

Ana Godinez Gonzalez
University of the Fraser Valley
1st-year
63 kg
Surrey, B.C.

The dynamic sister duo of Karla and Ana Godinez Gonzalez were stars this weekend in Edmonton for the UFV Cascades, as the pair both finished with conference gold medals – in the 55 kg and 63 kg divisions respectively.

Karla takes home the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award, while Ana is the Rookie of the Year, marking the second straight season a Godinez Gonzalez is the conference’s top first-year, after Karla’s win in 2017. The Surrey, B.C. products earned the Cascades lone medals on the women’s side, as Karla improved on her third-place finish from a year ago in the 51 kg division to top the podium.

Both sisters will be medal threats nationally in two weeks when they travel to Algoma University for the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships.

Student-Athlete Community Service

Temi Ogunjimi
University of Calgary
5th-year
67 kg
Calgary, Alta.

Two-sport athlete Temi Ogunjimi, who also stars for the Dinos rugby program, earned the women’s Canada West Student-Athlete Community Service Award following her gold medal performance in the 67 kg division.

The Calgary product is now a three-time conference gold medalist, was a 2017 U SPORTS silver medalist, and a 2017 Canadian Senior Nationals bronze medalist.

Along with her wrestling and rugby prowess, Ogunjimi earned a 3.66 GPA during last semester, and has been active in spreading her love of sport through work with a variety of Calgary organizations, including Winsport’s Kid Cancer Care Camp, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Ogunjimi continues to give back in both rugby and wrestling at the high school level, as she helped establish wrestling and rugby programs at Father Lacombe High School in Calgary.

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