February 28, 2013, Ottawa (CIS) – The Brock University women and Concordia University men hope to defend their team titles this weekend when the top varsity wrestlers in the country meet in London, Ont., for the 2013 CIS championships.
The two-day national meet returns to Western University for the first time since 2000. The preliminary rounds are set for Friday, starting at 10 a.m., with the classification matches (10 a.m.), bronze-medal bouts (12:30 p.m.) and championship finals (2:30 p.m.) following on Saturday at Alumni Hall.
All sessions from both days will be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
On the women’s side, the defending champion Badgers are ranked second going into the CIS meet behind the Alberta Pandas, who claimed their first national banner two years ago.
Both teams are coming off comfortable wins at their respective conference championships as Brock distanced Western by 10 points for the OUA title, while Alberta finished with a 13-point cushion over Calgary at the Canada West competition.
Alberta, Brock and Western will be represented in seven of eight weight classes this weekend, while Calgary will compete in six divisions.
At last year’s nationals, the Badger women triumphed in four divisions and also had a second-place finish. However, only one of their 2012 gold medallists – Jade Parsons at 48kg – is back to defend her title. Reigning 59kg champ Natasha Chang will also compete this week but she moved up to 63kg this season.
At least six new individual champions will be crowned on Saturday as Parsons and Chang are the only individual titlists from last year who will be in London.
It’s a different story on the men’s side, where six of the 10 gold medallists from 2012 are back, including five who remained in the same weight category.
Two of those golden boys – David Tremblay at 61kg and James Mancini at 65kg – are from reigning two-time champion Concordia.
A native of Stoney Point, Ont., Tremblay hopes to enter the record books on Saturday as he looks to become only the fifth wrestler in CIS history – and the third male – to finish his university career with the maximum of five individual gold medals. Three of the four athletes who previously accomplished the feat did so in consecutive years.
Tremblay, who represented Canada at the 2012 Olympics (55kg), was named CIS male wrestler of the year in 2009 after he claimed gold at 61kg as a freshman, and never looked back. He prevailed at 57kg the next two seasons before returning to 61kg last year.
In the team national rankings, the Concordia men trail the Alberta Golden Bears and Western Mustangs going into the CIS tournament.
The Canada West champion Bears are the only squad that will have a full roster of 10 male competitors in London. The championship host and OUA champ Mustangs will have nine and the Stingers, eight.
Two Western returnees are 2012 gold medallists. Steven Takahashi will defend his title at 54kg, while Ilya Abelev will surrender his 68kg crown as he moved up to 72kg this season.
The other returning champions in men’s competition are Regina’s Steven Schneider (57kg) and Saskatchewan’s Ryan Myrfield (72kg).
NOTES: Takahashi, Abelev and Myrfield are all looking for their third straight CIS title. Myrfield aims for his fourth gold overall… Former Brock teammates Ryan Weicker (2001-2005) and James Macari (2003-2007) are the only two male wrestlers to have won five CIS individual gold medals… On the women’s side, Calgary’s Gen Haley won five straight gold medals (2007-2011), while Ali Bernard claimed four in four years for Regina (2005-2008) and added a fifth triumph after transferring to Alberta (2010).