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(ISN) – NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – The 2014-15 Canada West Wrestling Championship is on this weekend from Friday, February 13 through Saturday, February 14 at the Jack Simpson Gym in the University of Calgary. 

Five of the six men’s teams competing in the Championship are currently ranked in the CIS Top Ten, including the No. 1-ranked University of Fraser Valley Cascades, who are making their conference debut this season.   

The host Calgary Dinos women’s team will attempt to win claim their first championship since 2010-11.  They come in ranked second nationally and will be facing four other CIS Top Ten teams in the Championship.

The defending champion Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas will be gunning for their third consecutive men’s title and fourth straight women’s trophy.

The Regina Cougars, Saskatchewan Huskies and Winnipeg Wesmen round out the Championship field.  The teams will be vying for the Rawson Trophy (men’s) and the Canada West Trophy (women’s).

Here is the schedule of events (all times in MST):

Friday February 13            
               
Time     Mat #1   Mat #2   Mat #3
11:00am Rd 1 Women   UC vs UFV   UA vs US   UR vs UW
12:00pm Rd 1 Men   UC vs US   UA vs UW   UR vs UFV
1:30pm Rd 2 Women   UC vs UW   UFV vs UA   US vs UR
3:00pm Rd 3 Women   UC vs UR   UW vs UA   UFV vs US
4:00pm Rd 2 Men   UC vs UFV   US vs UA   UW vs UR
               
Saturday February 14            
               
9:00am Rd 3 Men   UC vs UR   UFV vs UA   UW vs US
10:30am Rd 4 Women   UC vs US   UR vs UA   UW vs UFV
11:30am Rd 4 Men   UC vs UW   UR vs UA   UFV vs US
1:30pm Rd 5 Women   UC vs UA   US vs UW   UR vs UFV
2:30pm Rd 5 Men   UC vs UA   UW vs UFV   UR vs US

Below are what fans can expect to see from the Championship this weekend.

PREVIEWS:

University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas

CIS Ranking: Tied for fourth (men) and third (women)

2013-14 CIS Standings Finish: Second (men) and fourth (women)

2013-14 Canada West Standings Finish: First (both men and women)

Last CIS Title: 2013 (men) and 2011 (women)

Last CW Title: 2014 (both men and women)

Key returnees: Dylan Williams, Marlen Figueroa, Hayley Thomas, Mike Asselstine, Genie Gokhman, Cholena Horne, Krystin Paquette, Melvin Arciaga, Daniel Oloumi, Steven McCarville, Molly Bouchard, Drew Belanger

Key additions: Victoria Gonzalo

Key departures: Jamie Yurick, Amber Maschke

EDMONTON – For the first time since 1970, the University of Alberta will host the CIS wrestling championships, and both the Golden Bears and Pandas will head to the national championship meets as podium contenders.

The U of A wrestling teams enter the 2014-2015 Canada West and CIS championship wrestling season as two-time defending Canada West men’s and women’s champions, and as top five ranked within CIS. The Golden Bears last won the CIS championship in 2013, while the Pandas won the national championship crown in 2011. Last season, the Bears claimed CIS silver, while the Pandas finished fourth. 

A quartet of veterans leads the Pandas, including fifth-years Hayley Thomas, Marlen Figueroa and Sabrina Kelly. All three were contributing members of Alberta’s national championship women’s wrestling win in 2011, while Thomas, a fifth-year from Whitecourt, Alberta, is a two-time Canada West gold medalist (2013 and 2012) and a CIS individual bronze medalist (2010-11) as well as a silver medalist from the 2011 Junior National Championships. Kelly, from St. Albert, is a multiple CIS and Canada West medalist, including two CIS silver medals, and she wrestled for Canada at the Pan Am Games in the summer of 2010. In 2011, after helping the Pandas to CIS team championship, she won gold at the Junior National Championships and was named the Outstanding Female Wrestler of the Meet. Figueroa, who hails from Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is where Dawkins was coaching before joining the U of A, earned CIS gold last season, and is also a two-time CIS silver medalist as well as a three-time Canada West medalist.

Sophomores Genie Gokhman, Cholena Horne, Farah Taj and Krystin Paquette form the nucleus of the next generation of Panda leaders, and the roster boasts six rookies, including Adrienne Iu, who has already medaled once this season.

On the men’s side, Edmonton-born Mike Asselstine leads the Golden Bears. The fourth-year wrestler is a multiple CIS and Canada West gold medalist, and has represented Canada internationally a number of times in the last two years, collecting podium finishes for Canada as well. He’s joined by fourth-years Dylan Williams and Jason Margo, as well as Abdul Taj, Steven McCarville, Clayton Brinker, Melvin Arciaga and 10 rookies.

The Canada West Championship meet takes place February 13-14 at the University of Calgary, while the CIS Championship meets are February 28 to March 1 at the University of Alberta. It will be the first time the championship will be hosted in Edmonton since 1970.

University of Calgary Dinos

CIS Ranking: Sixth (men) and second (women)

2013-14 CIS Standings Finish: Seventh (men) and second (women)

2013-14 Canada West Standings Finish: Second (both men and women)

Last CIS Title: N/A (men) and 2009 (women)

Last CW Title: 2003 (men) and 2011 (women)

Key returnees: Connor Hodgins, Baldwin Asala, Kate Richey, Temi Ogunjimi

Key additions: Gordon Peavy, Holly Clark

Key departures: Brian Hutton, Jessy Seida, Rachel Hall, Ocean Burns

CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos men’s and women’s wrestling teams are set to host the 2015 Canada West Wrestling Championship at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium, February 13-14.

While the women’s team comes in ranked No. 2, just one ranking above fellow Canada West member and all-time rival Alberta Pandas, the men’s team ranks at No. 6. On the men’s side, the battle should be a good one as all six teams from the conference are ranked in the CIS Top Ten. The Dinos come off two second-place team finishes last season.

“Both teams hope to win team championships at home this year,” said head coach Mitch Ostberg.  “I expect that each athlete will give their all in every match toward that goal.”

Expectations are high for both teams heading into the Championship and for the women, the return of Kate Richey and Temi Ogunjimi will be key factors to their success. Richey, a CIS silver medalist in the 51 kg weight class, brings valuable international experience and was a University of Calgary Dinos Award of Merit winner last season. For Ogunjimi, she returns for her second year as the reigning conference Rookie of the Year for her gold medal performance at 63 kg. She also placed fifth at the Junior Worlds.

Another major returnee for the women is Holly Clark. In 2013, Clark was a conference and national gold medalist at 82 kg, but took a year off due to injury. Her presence will add confidence to the Dinos in their pursuit of a team championship title. 

“On the women’s side, traditionally strong Calgary and Alberta should vie for the team title, with Saskatchewan and Regina trying to break through,” said Ostberg.

On the men’s side, Connor Hodgins was a silver medalist at 76 kg from 2014 and will lead the Dinos again this season. He performed well in season tournaments to earn the starting spot and hopes to return to medal status at both the Canada West and CIS Championships. In the newly minted 100 kg weight class, Baldwin Asala will also have hopes of medaling for the Dinos. He is currently ranked third in the CIS rankings going into the championship. He represented the Dinos at 120 kg last season.

Although the Dinos lose the likes of Brian Hutton, a five-year athlete with the wrestling team, they gain the skills of Gordon Peavy. Recovered from knee issues, Peavy becomes the Dinos’ starting wrestler at 61 kg. A veteran who sat out a number of years has an opportunity to be a top contender.

“Canada West on the men’s side sees the addition of the No. 1-ranked UFV Cascades. The conference championships are pressure-filled events so it should be very interesting to see if the Cascades can fulfill their top ranking.”

Following the Canada West Championship, the Dinos will head out to Edmonton to compete at the CIS Championships, February 27-28, hosted by the University of Alberta.

University of Fraser Valley Cascades

CIS Ranking: First (men) and N/A (women)

2013-14 CIS Standings Finish: N/A

2013-14 Canada West Standings Finish: N/A

Last CIS Title: N/A

Last CW Title: N/A

Key performers: Jasmit Phulka, Chanmit Phulka, Aso Palani, Manheet Kalhon, Devin Purewal, Julianna Bouwers, Shae Corwin

ABBOTSFORD – The fledgling University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program has high hopes heading into its first Canada West Championship.

The Cascades, making their Canada West debut this season, have found instant success on the men’s side. The UFV men won both conference tournaments they entered in the second semester – the Golden Bear Open on January 9, and their home Cascades Classic tournament on February 1. Those results have sparked a rapid rise up the CIS rankings, and the Cascades men currently hold down the No. 1 spot in the national poll.

Standouts for the men’s team include Aso Palani (61 kg), Devin Purewal (72 kg), Jasmit Phulka (82 kg), Chanmit Phulka (100 kg) and Manheet Kalhon (130 kg). All five wrestlers have won individual gold medals at Canada West tournaments this season, and Palani, Kalhon and Jasmit Phulka have earned two golds apiece.

On the women’s side, UFV’s top finisher at the Cascades Classic was Shae Corwin, who finished fifth at 51 kg.

University of Regina Cougars

CIS Ranking: N/A (men) and seventh (women)

2013-14 CIS Standings Finish: Eighth (both men and women)

2013-14 Canada West Standings Finish: Third (both men and women)

Last CIS Title: 1998 (men) and N/A (women)

Last CW Title: 2012 (men) and N/A (women)

Key returnees: Jacob Luczak, Sam Dietrich, Lucas Hoffert, Evan Lemieux, Indhyra Linares, Lisa McKibben, Jillian Durant, Kayla Brodner

Key additions: Austin Waldron, Michael Roizman, Tyrell Altrogge, Laura Belisle, Dakoda Sinclair, Sena Debia

Key departures: Matt Fedler, Regan Pratt, Isaac Lubiak, Danielle Anderson, Kristine Longeau, Cass Schmidt

REGINA – Both of the University of Regina’s wrestling teams feature some familiar faces and exciting new athletes as the Cougars prepare for this weekend’s Canada West Wrestling Championship hosted by Calgary.

The women’s team enters the weekend ranked No. 7 in the CIS and is led by fourth-year wrestler Kayla Brodner, who won silver at the Canada West Championship in the 67 kg class a year ago. Also back for the Cougars are Emily Foerster, who won a silver medal in the 82 kg at last year’s conference meet, and 2012 Canada West gold-medalist Lisa McKibben.

The men’s team is led by Jacob Luczak, who sat out last year’s conference meet due to injury but won Canada West bronze in 2012. Also competing for the Cougars will be Lucas Hoffert, who won silver at last year’s Canada West Championship before placing fifth in the 68 kg at the CIS meet. Other Cougar wrestlers with previous success at conference championships are Rylan Patterson, who won silver in the 82 kg last year, and Sean Belisle, who captured bronze in the 90 kg.

The women’s team is looking for its first conference championship, while the men’s team will be attempting to lock up its 11th Canada West title and first championship since winning back-to-back in 2011 and 2012.

University of Saskatchewan Huskies

CIS Ranking: Eighth (men) and sixth (women)

2013-14 CIS Standings Finish: Ninth (both men and women)

2013-14 Canada West Standings Finish: Fifth (men) and fourth (women)

Last CIS Title: N/A

Last CW Title: 1986 (men) and N/A (women)

Key returnees: Annie Monteith, Dylan Bray, Andrew Johnson

Key additions: Josh Bodnarchuk, Megan Nelthorpe

Key departures: Shane Johnson, Theo Dow, Taylor Follensbee, Katie Dutchak

SASKATOON – With seven rookies appearing on the probable starters list for the 2015 Canada West Championship, the University of Saskatchewan wrestling teams will have a different look at the annual dual format meet in Calgary.

Saskatchewan will look to four-time Canada West silver medalist and 2013 CIS Second Team All-Canadian Dylan Bray in the 57 kg weight class and 2014 Canada West Most Outstanding Female Wrestler Annie Monteith in the 48 kg to lead the Huskies in experience.

Also competing with experience at the Canada West Championship is a trio of third-year wrestlers on the men’s side in Malcolm Meekins (72 kg), Andrew Johnson (82 kg) and Jacob Phillips (120 kg). Silke Svenkeson (51 kg), Laryssa Barry (55 kg) and Lisa Brise (59 kg) all have experience at the conference event for the women.

Meekins and Johnson each brought home bronze one season ago, while Barry finished fourth and Svenkeson placed fifth in 2014. Brise won a bronze medal in her rookie season in 2011-12. Samson Swan (100 kg) will also provide experience for the male Huskies after taking 2013-14 away from the mat. In 2012-13, Swan won silver at the Canada West Championship and bronze at the CIS Championship.

Saskatchewan finished fifth on the men’s side and fourth in the women’s standings as hosts of the conference championship in 2014. At the CIS level, the Huskies finished ninth in both the men’s and women’s standings.

Rookie Josh Bodnarchuk (54 kg) has been impressive in 2014-15 defeating senior wrestlers and Canadian junior champions at tournaments throughout the season. Megan Nelthorpe (82 kg) has also had success on the women’s side in her rookie season.

Saskatchewan enters the conference championship ranked No. 6 in the CIS on the women’s side and No. 8 in men’s.

University of Winnipeg Wesmen

CIS Ranking: Second (men) and 10th (women)

2013-14 CIS Standings Finish: 11th (men) and 13th (women)

2013-14 Canada West Standings Finish: Fourth (men) and fifth (women)

Last CIS Title: N/A

Last CW Title: N/A

Key returnees: Mitchell Berenz, Ben Christopher, Brock Munro, Kyle Nguyen, Rachel Alder, Emily Kessler, Kaitlin Kucharski, Wade Fry

Key additions: Morgan Hill, Finn Higgins, Niles Peebles, Aleksandr Sofronov

Key departures: None

WINNIPEG – The University of Winnipeg Wesmen men’s and women’s wrestling teams coached by Adrian Bruce, enter the 2014 Canada West Wrestling Championship with momentum and confidence on their side.In team competition, the UW men’s team placed first at two events (Calgary and Saskatchewan) while placing second on two occasions and one third-place finish. The women’s team had their share of success in team competition placing second at the Winnipeg and Fraser Valley meets. The team also placed third in Calgary and Saskatchewan.The men’s team had a very successful season in individual competition. Finn Higgins (Oklahoma City, OK) in his first season captured gold medals in the 90 kg weight class in five Canada West competitions. He was named the Outstanding Male Wrester at the Huskies Open back in November. Aleksandr Sofronov (Yakutsk, Siberia) also had a solid season winning four gold medals in the 76 kg class. Third year team member Kyle Nguyen (Vancouver,BC) won five medals this past season (1 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze) in the 120 kg class. Brock Munro in his third year from Prince Albert, SK had success this year winning four medals (2 silver, 2 bronze) in the 72 kg class.  Second-year team member Ben Christopher (Stittsville, ON) won three medals including gold in Winnipeg at the 82 kg mark. Cean Bod-oy (54 kg) and Niles Peebles (57 kg) each won gold in Calgary and will look to repeat that performance at the Canada West Championship. Wade Fry (61 kg), Mitchell Berenz (65 kg), Justin Ramgotra (100 kg) and Matt Palma (68 kg) will all be looking to medal at the Canada West Championship. On the women’s side third year team member Emily Kessler (Essex, ON) had a very successful season in the 55 kg class, winning medals in all five competitions entered (1 silver, 4 bronze). Kaitlin Kucharski (48 kg, Woodslee, ON) in her second year won gold at the Saskatchewan Open and also won two silvers in Calgary and Winnipeg. Anne-Cecile Panchaud (67 kg, Vancouver, BC) showed promise winning three bronze medals in regular season competition. Rachel Alder (51 kg, Winnipeg, MB) won two medals and Morgan Hill (59 kg, Dryden, ON) captured bronze at Fraser Valley.  Second-year member Maura Martina (72 kg) rounds out the roster for the Canada West Championship.

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