Author: kristian ferguson – sports writer
At least we placed!
The University of Regina wrestling team was at Brock University for the CIS championships at the end of February and managed to, forgive the pun, wrestle two bronze medals away from the competition. Kayla Brodner and Kristine Longeau were tough enough to get on the podium. Brodner claimed her second medal after a silver medal grab last year in the 67kg category. This is the first medal for Longeau, placing in the 72kg category. Overall, Brock was the major winner this year, topping the overall team scores in both the men’s and women’s categories.
With Brodner and Longeau both taking home gold at the Canada West Championships earlier in February, it is apparent that the competition only gets fiercer at the national level. Similarly, Gaelan Malloy took home a gold for the men’s team at Canada West but placed fourth at CIS. The home team, Brock University, were able to claim six gold medals and placed fairly consistently within the top three. The national stage appears to be a much different beast in comparison to just the West. Whether it’s chalked up to home-team advantage, training regiment or coaching, the Cougars could afford to take a page out of Brock’s metaphorical book.
2016 has been a fairly successful year for the Cougars; it is clear that CIS is the challenge yet to be surmounted. Having produced winners at the Huskie Open, Golden Bear Open and Cougar Invitational, the teams still have a long way to go to achieve gold at CIS. With Canada’s best and brightest on the mat, a few lucky opportunities are not a determining factor. With athletes like Brodner, Longeau and Malloy, though, the U of R stands a good chance of stepping their game up in the years to come.
With the disproportionately high number of the wrestling team split between first years and fifth years, next season and the season after that will be very interesting to witness as the older, more experienced wrestlers graduate. Will a team of fresh faces be what Regina needs to claim gold? Will the loss of more experienced competitors prove to hurt the team, or provide it with the breath of fresh air it needs to come out on top? It is hard to say what exactly the team needs, but keep an eye on the wrestling team in the future.
The U of R wrestling team seems to be putting up a fight and proving to make good competition not only locally, but nationally as well. Based on their victories in Canada West competition, the Cougars are in a strong position to seize victory in the coming years. With some fine-tuning, I am sure we will see the Cougars placing gold at CIS very soon.