by Michel Bélanger
February 27, 2014, OTTAWA (ISN) – The Brock University women and University of Alberta men hope to defend their team titles this weekend when the top varsity wrestlers in the country meet in Fredericton for the 2014 CIS championships.
The two-day national meet will be held at the University of New Brunswick for the first time in history. The preliminary rounds are set for Friday, starting at 10 a.m. Atlantic Time, with the placement matches (10 a.m.), bronze-medal bouts (12:30 p.m.) and championship finals (2:30 p.m.) following on Saturday at the Richard J. Currie Center.
All sessions from both days will be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
On the women’s side, the Badgers are two-time defending champions and head into the CIS meet as the top-ranked team in the country despite their second-place finish two weeks ago at the OUA championships, where they were edged by two points by the Western Mustangs.
Western is ranked second going into the weekend, with Canada West champion Alberta, Calgary and Concordia rounding out the top five.
Brock, Western and Alberta will all be represented in six of eight weight classes in Fredericton, while Calgary leads the way with wrestlers in seven divisions.
The top-seeded Badgers can count on two individual gold medallists from last year’s national meet. Jade Parsons, a former CIS female rookie of the year with Regina (2009), has captured the 48-kilogram title each of the past two seasons. Teammate Carlene Sluberski earned top-freshman honours in 2013 after she was crowned at 55 kg but won’t defend that title this week as she is down one weight category this season (51 kg).
At 48 kg, Parsons will battle, among others, Western’s Madison Parks, who won CIS gold at 51 kg as a rookie in 2012 while competing for Guelph. Parsons beat Parks in the OUA final on Feb. 15.
The only other former CIS gold medallist in the women’s competition is Samantha Stewart from host UNB. The Varsity Reds standout was selected CIS female wrestler of the year in 2013 after she prevailed at 59 kg for the second time in three campaigns.
“I can see it being another exciting nationals, with several teams that can win either team title,” said long-time Western head coach Ray Takahashi. “I know we’ll have strong individual performances and we’ll be in the mix on the women’s side. The OUA conference was quite competitive this season and there’s a lot more parity amongst the teams.”
On the men’s side, Brock also comes in as the top seed despite a second-place finish behind Guelph at the OUA meet (78-75). Guelph is ranked third behind UNB, while defending champ Alberta comes in at No. 4 despite winning the Canada West championship two weeks ago.
The Badgers hope to claim a first CIS banner since the end of their magical 10-year run from 1999 to 2008, while the Golden Bears hope to successfully defend a title they won for the first time in 40 years last winter.
Looking for their first-ever CIS banner, the Varsity Reds will be out in full force in their home gym with competitors in all 10 weight classes. Brock follows with eight athletes, compared to seven apiece for Alberta and Guelph.
Brock is led by a pair of 2013 CIS champions in Jevon Balfour (68 kg) and Matrixx Ferreira, who moved up from 76 kg to 82 kg this season.
The only other returning champ from a year ago is Concordia’s Jordan Steen (90 kg), who also took home top-rookie honours last winter.
UNB has high hopes for two standouts making a return to university competition this year. Vince Cormier (61 kg) is a three-time CIS champion, twice at 57 kg (2008, 2009) and once at 61 kg, in 2011, when he merited male-MVP honours. Shawn Daye-Finley (76 kg) won gold at 68 kg three years ago.
Third-ranked Guelph also has a former CIS titlist on its roster in Jake Jagas (76 kg), crowned at 72 kg in 2012.
While they don’t figure to be a factor in the team standings, the Lakehead Thunderwolves are represented by a former CIS MVP in Preston Mikulasik, who triumphed at 120 kg two seasons ago.
“Our team is smaller than last year, however the wrestlers who have qualified for this year’s CIS championship should all be in the running for the top spot in their weight class,” said Alberta’s Owen Dawkins, named CIS coach of the year in men’s competition last season and on the women’s side in 2010-11. “It won’t be easy, but we’ll compete for the championship again.”
“I think the top four men’s teams will all have individual CIS champions,” added Western’s Takahashi.
PAST CIS TEAM CHAMPIONS
Women (inaugural women’s championship in 1999)
- 2013 Brock
- 2012 Brock
- 2011 Alberta
- 2010 Simon Fraser
- 2009 Calgary
- 2008 Simon Fraser
- 2007 Calgary
- 2006 Simon Fraser
- 2005 Simon Fraser
- 2004 Simon Fraser
- 2003 Simon Fraser
- 2002 Brock
- 2001 Calgary
- 2000 Calgary
- 1999 Calgary
Men (last 20 years)
- 2013 Alberta
- 2012 Concordia
- 2011 Concordia
- 2010 Simon Fraser
- 2009 Simon Fraser
- 1999 to 2008 Brock (10 straight titles)
- 1998 Regina
- 1997 Regina
- 1996 Brock
- 1995 Brock
- 1994 McMaster
PAST CIS WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR (last 10 years)
- 2013 Samantha Stewart, UNB
- 2012 Emma Brightwell, Lakehead
- 2011 Gen Haley, Calgary
- 2010 Gen Haley, Calgary
- 2009 Heidi Erdle, Calgary
- 2008 Miranda Dick, Simon Fraser
- 2007 Hana Askren, Concordia
- 2006 Emily Richardson, Simon Fraser
- 2005 Ellen Macro, McMaster
- 2004 Martine Dugrenier, Concordia
- 2013 David Tremblay, Concordia
- 2012 Preston Mikulasik, Lakehead
- 2011 Vince Cormier, UNB
- 2010 Shujon Mazumber, Toronto
- 2009 David Tremblay, Concordia
- 2008 Dustyn Fisher, Simon Fraser
- 2007 Jamie Macari, Brock
- 2006 Sheldon Francis, McMaster
- 2005 Ryan Weicker, Brock
- 2004 Adam Fera, Brock
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times ATLANTIC TIME)
Thursday, February 27
17:00 Weigh-ins (The Delta Hotel – Grand Ballroom)
Friday, February 28
- 10:00 Preliminaries Round 1 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
- 13:00 Preliminaries Round 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
- 15:30 Preliminaries Round 3 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Saturday, March 1
- 10:00 5th-8th place matches (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
- 12:30 Bronze-medal matches (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
- 14:30 Championship finals (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
- 18:00 Awards Banquet (The Delta Hotel – Grand Ballroom)