The best wrestlers in the Canada West division will descend on Saskatoon on Feb. 14 and 15 to fight for a spot in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship.
The Canada West championships will take place in the Education gym with the top three finishers in each division advancing to nationals. The Huskies will host teams from the University of Alberta, the University of Regina, the University of Calgary and the University of Winnipeg.
Unlike other CIS wrestling events, the Canada West championship will have a dual format. Teams compete directly against one another with one member from each weight class going head-to-head against a member from the other squad. The format is more fan-friendly as spectators are easily able to follow the action.
“Dual format is a completely different experience when you watch wrestling. You can feel the momentum shift with every match and it’s the best way to watch it,” said Huskies wrestling interim-head coach Daniel Olver. “It’s dynamic. The team atmosphere is there, you can see everyone that you want to wrestle all at once within an hour time frame. It’s electric.”
Heading into the competition, Olver is optimistic about the team’s chances.
“I always have high hopes,” he said. “They always train for championship titles, so I expect them to compete for it, but anything can happen.”
Annie Monteith will take to the mat this weekend with the aim of advancing to the national championships. Monteith has been excelling this season, medaling at both the Cougar Open and Golden Bear Open. After overcoming a recent bout of the flu, she’s ready to grapple for gold.
“This week I’m feeling perfect and ready to compete,” she said.
Hosting the event is adding to Monteith’s and the rest of the team’s desire to bring their best to the mat.
“I think the fact that we’re hosting it makes it a lot more exciting and everyone is driven to do well,” she said. “We have a really strong team, so I think that we’re going to perform really well this year.”
Since the championship is a dual event, fourth-year wrestler Theo Dow knows they can’t depend on one person or one event if they want to place amongst the top teams in the country.
“I think it’ll depend on how we come together,” he said. “We want a strong top three finish in the Canada West division.”
But when it comes to personal goals Dow is heading into the weekend with only one in mind.
“I want to win,” he said. “I’ve came second and third, and this year’s my last year competing. I’ve been thinking about it all week, and I want to win.”
Olver hopes that fans and students will take advantage of such a large competition being held in their own backyard and come cheer on their local athletes.
“It gives our community an opportunity to come out and support wrestling, and take in all the excitement of CanWest,” he said.
Action starts at 2 p.m. on Feb. 14 and 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 15 in the Education gym.