By Scott Strasser, February 26 2015 —
The Dinos women’s wrestling team won their first Canada West title since 2011 over the Feb. 13–14 weekend at the Jack Simpson gym.
Calgary finished the team event with 44 points — four ahead of the No. 2 University of Alberta Pandas, who have won the Canada West title for the last three years.
The Dinos earned their title against the Pandas in the final match, winning a series of duels.
“On the women’s side, we had great success,” said Dinos head coach Mitch Ostenburg. “They’re the best team in Canada West and I think they’re the best team in the country, so it was really neat to see them wrestle well.”
Ostenburg was named Canada West women’s coach of the year.
Individual gold medals for the Dinos came from Cara Nania in the 55kg weight class, Temitope Ogunjimi (63kg), Hilary Goble (72kg) and Holly Ellsworth-Clark (82kg).
On the men’s side, U of A won their third consecutive Canada West title, finishing the team event with 45 points. The Dinos finished fifth in the six-team category.
“We knew going into the [men’s] competition it would be a tough battle. Five of the six [teams] were ranked in the top-10 CIS [Canadian Interuniversity] this year, so it’s a really tough competition,” Ostenburg said.
A weekend highlight for the men’s team came in their second match against the No. 1 ranked University of Fraser Valley Cascades. Although the Cascades won more matches, the Dinos won because the Cascades didn’t field a wrestler for every weight class.
“That was a pretty good performance for our men’s team,” Ostenburg said. “We were tied for sixth [nationally] in our last ranking and technically, we beat the No. 1 ranked team in the country.”
Despite finishing fifth, fourth-year Dino Spenser Burk (65kg) said the competition was fairly even.
“There were some matches we lost that we could’ve won, but generally we performed fairly well. There were no blow-out matches,” said Burk, who picked up bronze in his weight class.
The top-three wrestlers in every weight class qualified for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships, which take place Feb. 27–28 at the University of Alberta. Fourteen Dinos qualified.