Sports

Wrestlers assembling in Cowichan for provincials

Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club has a large contingent of wrestlers, coaches and supporters involved in the B.C. high school championships Friday and Saturday at Cowichan Arena in the Island Savings Centre. Front row, from left: Ryan Kuruvita, Faye Tuck, Nolan Mitchell, Chelsea Warke, Kayden Dorma, Maegan Kuruvita, Carter Zuback, Tyler Shoop, Pandora Smith, Andrea Morris, Aidan Heggie and Nick George. Second Row: coach Nick Zuback, Molly O
Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club has a large contingent of wrestlers, coaches and supporters involved in the B.C. high school championships Friday and Saturday at Cowichan Arena in the Island Savings Centre. Front row, from left: Ryan Kuruvita, Faye Tuck, Nolan Mitchell, Chelsea Warke, Kayden Dorma, Maegan Kuruvita, Carter Zuback, Tyler Shoop, Pandora Smith, Andrea Morris, Aidan Heggie and Nick George. Second Row: coach Nick Zuback, Molly O'Donnell, Ian Tuck, Jimmy Wylde, Rayne Hankins, Jacob McKechnie, Ken Koury, Eric Hovey, Johnlee Wong-Bates, Randi Thomas, coach Craig Lauridsen. Back Row: Chris Butterworth, coach Rick Bryan, Ethan Mellings, Colten Koopmans, Aydan Claus, coach Paul Wunderlich, Cole Nikirk, Owen Pite, Scott Kennedy and Connor Smith. Absent: Hannah Lauridsen, Kylie Kinrade, Justin Nellystyn, Olive Kuruiro, Karol Esquivel, Anita Esquivel.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

The big moment the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club has been waiting for is almost here.

The club will be hosting the B.C. high school wrestling championships at Cowichan Arena Friday and Saturday. Many of its wrestlers, representing their respective schools, are top contenders.

“We’ve been basically preparing about 15 months,’’ said CVWC head coach Nick Zuback.

The official announcement of Cowichan’s successful bid was made a year ago at the last provincial championships in Penticton.

Zuback said there will be about 550 wrestlers entered in the competition, including 25 from the valley club.

Weigh-ins will be conducted Thursday. Wrestling takes place Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

The finals start at 2 p.m. Saturday and run till about 5 p.m. There is a $10 admission charge at the door for the finals, but spectators can watch the rest of the competition free of charge.

The local wrestling club has done a great deal of fundraising and received tremendous business support to make the championships happen.

“We were hugely fortunate for the local sponsorship,’’ said Zuback.

He estimates it’s costing $40,000 to stage the tournament.

The ice will be covered with boards and a vapor barrier during the competition. Six mats will be used for the tournament, with another mat and a half behind the stage for warm-ups.

“We’ve almost finished getting everything ready,’’ said Zuback Monday of the huge undertaking.

Some odds and ends need to be tied up and medals are arriving from Vancouver.

“Everything else is in place,’’ said Zuback. “We’re hoping to put on a good show.’’

There are about 75 to 100 volunteers involved in the process. Club members have received support from the Duncan Lions Club, the student population at Cowichan Secondary School and others.

Zuback not only has to attend to organizational duties, but coaching.

“When the event’s on, I’m going to hopefully rely on all our committee members to do their jobs,’’ he said.

The Cowichan club has three wrestlers seeded first in their respective categories — Maegan Kuruvita, Nolan Mitchell and Faye Tuck.

“Hopefully, they come out on top and a few others come out on top as well,’’ said Zuback.

Events such as this show wrestling is alive and well and still going strong at the grassroots level. The sport was hit hard by a decision to terminate its inclusion in the Olympics as of 2020.

Wrestlers aren’t taking the decision lying down. “All the wrestling groups are doing what they need to do right now,’’ said Zuback.

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