The University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program brought home four individual medals from the Alberta Golden Bears Invitational in Edmonton on the weekend, highlighted by gold medals for Brad Hildenbrandt and Amtoj Dhaliwal.
Hildenbrandt, a sophomore from Surrey, B.C., finished atop the men’s heavyweight (120 kg) division, going a perfect 3-0 en route to the title. Dhaliwal, a rookie from Abbotsford, B.C., was the 82 kg men’s champ, winning both of his matches to claim his first gold medal at a Canada West tournament.
Two other Cascades climbed the podium – Haseeb Javed (silver, men’s 61 kg) and Karla Godinez Gonzalez (bronze, women’s 51 kg). Javed won his first two matches before dropping a 16-6 decision to Ayobami Peluola of the Saskatchewan Huskies in the final. Godinez Gonzalez, meanwhile, fell to eventual gold medalist Natasha Kramble of the Saskatoon Wrestling Club in the semis, but bounced back to win her next two matches on the back side of the draw to claim bronze.
“We’re very happy with Brad getting a win over an opponent (Jordan Tholl of the Regina Cougars in the semifinals) who had beaten him earlier this year,” Cascades co-coach Arjan Bhullar noted. “That’s what you want to see out of your leader.
“We’re also very excited for the success our freshmen had, with two men and one woman coming away with medals. Karla’s performance was especially impressive as she was beating Natasha Kramble from Saskatchewan with two minutes remaining. Kramble is a past national team member, and although Karla ended up losing the match, she knows she’s on track for success in university and beyond.”
In other action, the Cascades’ Amanveer Kaler finished sixth in the men’s 65 kg draw – he won his first two matches to make it to the semifinals, but fell to eventual champ Connor McNeice and lost his subsequent consolation-side matches. Pravi Dhaliwal (women’s 59 kg) and Kamil Golowoko (men’s 100 kg) both went 0-2 in Edmonton.
“Great performance by the group,” Bhullar summarized. “Everyone competed well – some were unable to travel due to injury and some were coming back from injuries, so we will focus on getting the group healthy over the next few weeks to make a push at home (at the Cascade Classic on Jan. 29) and into the Canada West conference championships and nationals.”