The high school wrestling program has been growing and building for the last couple of years. This year, it seems the wrestlers and the program took many strides forward, including sending the highest number of athletes ever and winning six medals at the provincial championship in Regina over the weekend.
“The kids did incredible. It is the toughest tournament of the year as everyone shows up with their A game,” said coach Rob Villeneuve.
Peacock Collegiate sent 14 wrestlers, Central Collegiate sent two athletes and Vanier sent one, as did Assiniboia. Kurtis Busch won the gold medal in the 44-kilogram category and Devin Kiryk won a gold medal in the 50 kg division. Ty Nordick wrapped up his high school wrestling career with a gold medal in the 130 kg division and Kodi Kamarzinuk finished with a bronze in the same division. In the female 53 kg division, Vicki Busch won a bronze medal and Cassy Busch won a silver medal in the 56 kg category.
The schools sent 18 wrestlers and many placed in the top 10. A lot of the athletes are still quite young and for some, this was their first provincial tournament.
“They are all so young and wrestling takes many years to get the experience. We can teach them all the techniques in practice, but it just takes being on the mat and wrestling. They have to be in that position over and over again,” said Villeneuve. “This first year for some of them was building blocks. Next year when we look at the kids that will be coming back out, they are still young and will be around for a couple of years.”
Peacock’s program as well as the local club will lose Nordick after this year, as he moves on to the University of Regina. He lost early at provincials, but was able to rebound and defeat the same athlete that beat him later in the event.
“We are losing Ty, which will be hard. He has placed in the last couple years at provincials and he is a tough boy,” he said. “He is in a very tough category and he always does well. It is definitely going to be tough to fill his shoes. We are losing one of our top athletes.”
It was the coaches’ goal to come home with around six medals, but it was also about getting the wrestlers more mat experience and action against the toughest competitors from across the province.
“When you look at our results, we knew who some of the tougher kids in the province were going to be. We knew that some of our wrestlers were in hard weight categories. For them to place in the top six was great and what we were expecting,” stated Villeneuve. “Next year is going to be better and the year after that will be even better.”
Not only did individuals do well, but also the Peacock girls’ team did well, placing second in the 3A classification and only one point out of first place. The Peacock boys’ team finished third in the 4A classification and the Vanier boys’ team finished in seventh place in the 3A classification.
“Now that we’ve got a taste of getting the results in the boys and girls teams, we are looking to improve. We know see why we fell short on that and we are focusing on filling all those weight classes,” explained Villeneuve.