author: nathan mccarville | sports writer
Cougars had strong showing in Ridgewater Open
During the weekend, the men’s wrestling team travelled to the small city of Willmar, Minnesota, to participate in the Ridgewater Open, hosted by the Ridgewater College Warriors.
The Cougars had strong performances across the board. Jordan Tholl placed 4th in the heavyweight division, fellow heavyweight Waylon Decoteau placed 5th and Adam Hendrickson, also a heavyweight, was able to get one win out of the three matches that he competed in. Joshua Zimroz and Nathen Schmidt bothed finished the Open with a record of 1 win and 2 losses in the three matches they were each featured in. Paul Tokarz, Lucas Hoffert, and Brayden Johnson were unable to get a win, each finishing with a record of 0-2.
Getting into contact with Waylon Decoteau, he explained the situation that the men’s wrestling team got into and talked about travelling to the United States to compete in the Ridgeway Open for the University of Regina.
When asked about the mindset that the men’s wrestling team went into the open with, Decoteau said, “Mindset: Well, our team had a pretty long winter break. It was a nice tournament to head and see some other guys, and start getting back into shape. I know many guys on our team have not wrestled much Folkstyle (EIC’s Note: Also known as Greco-Roman) (the style the U.S. wrestles), and that it would be tough for them. In Canada, we wrestle Freestyle (Olympic style), and there is a focus on wrestling on your feet, takedowns. I can say the guys did well on their feet and held their own, but were challenged when it came to top and bottom.”
Based on the results of the Open itself, Decoteau mentions the difficulties the team has faced.
“The brackets were also unusual, they weren’t like traditional brackets where if you lost a match, you could wrestle back and possibly make it to a third-place match. I lost my first match to a pretty heavy kid, and then won three in a row after. In Canada, I wrestle 100 kg, and our heavyweight, Jordan Tholl, wrestles at 120 kg. In the U.S., they group both weight classes into 130kg, and so we both gave up a considerable amount of size.”
A mixture of the grogginess of returning to a sports after not being able to really compete for a month and being thrown into an unfamiliar system that allows for a wider range in weight class seems to be the factors contributing to the team’s result.
Adam Hendrickson had also an adjustment period, but found his grove when he picked up his win.
“My mindset going into the competition was nervous that I was wrestling a different kind of wrestling that I had never tried. It felt really good to walk away with a win because it was a long, hard, match it went literally right up to the last second. “
The Cougars also recently completed their part in the Golden Bear Invitational where the Cougars men’s team placed fifth in the event. The next one, held well within the Cougars’ element, takes place on January 26 in the Cascades Classic in Abbotsford B.C.