Nine Huskie wrestlers advance to nationals

SCOTT DAVIDSON
Associate News Editor

Huskie Shane Johnson advanced to nationals after taking silver in his division.

Huskie Shane Johnson advanced to nationals after taking silver in his division.

Despite disappointing finishes in the team standings, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies had nine wrestlers qualify for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship during the Canada West finals on Feb. 14 and 15.

The Canada West championship was hosted by the U of S in the Education gym. In addition to the Huskies, teams from the University of Calgary, University of Alberta, University of Regina and University of Winnipeg also competed.

The tournament was contested in a dual format, meaning teams faced off directly against one another with one wrestler from each weight class going head-to-head.

Annie Monteith, Katie Dutchak, Drew Kuhn, Taylor Follensbee, Shane Johnson, Dylan Bray, Theo Dow, Malcolm Meekins and Andrew Johnson all recorded top three finishes in their divisions and were awarded berths in the CIS championship as a result.

Monteith grabbed the Huskies’ sole gold medal by staying perfect through four matches in the women’s 48-kilogram weight class. She was also awarded the women’s wrestler of the year award for her undefeated campaign this season.

“Annie stepped up this weekend and got a huge win,” said Daniel Olver, the Huskies wrestling interim head coach. “In my mind, she’s the athlete to beat.”

Dutchak, Follensbee, Bray, Dow and Shane Johnson claimed silver medals, while Kuhn, Meekins and Andrew Johnson took bronze.

Huskie Dylan Bray, wearing a mask to protect his broken nose, lost a tough dual to finish second in the 57-kg weight class.

Huskie Dylan Bray, wearing a mask to protect his broken nose, lost a tough dual to finish second in the 57-kg weight class.

In one of the most dramatic matches of the tournament, Bray fell to the University of Alberta Golden Bears’ Dylan Williams in a battle of undefeated wrestlers. Bray nearly staged a late comeback but came up short and lost nine to four.

Olver said he was pleased with the performance of those who qualified for nationals.

“Qualifying was the goal I set — to qualify as many athletes as possible and we did that,” Olver said. “We got a lot of things to work on going into [nationals], but once you get there you have a shot at a national championship title and you got to go for it.”

The CIS championship will be held on Feb. 28 and Mar. 1 at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, N.B.

In the team standings, the Huskies men finished fifth and the women finished fourth. The men lost all four of their duals and the women’s sole victory came over the U of W.

The U of A claimed first place in both divisions. The Golden Bears — the U of A men’s team — scored 45 points to take the title, beating the second place U of C Dinos by 15 points. The Huskies, who placed fifth, finished with 24 points.

On the women’s side, the U of A Pandas finished with 32 points, edging the U of C Dinos out by a single point to take the team title. The Huskies finished with 22 points.

Wrestlers take to the mat for the CIS championships on Feb. 28 and March 1.


Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor