The University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program earned a pair of individual bronze medals at the Canada West season-opening Dinos Invitational in Calgary on Saturday.
Competing on behalf of the Cascades varsity, Devin Purewal finished third in the men’s 76-kilogram division. It’s a step up in weight class for the Abbotsford product, who wrestled at 72 kg last season. On the women’s side, Pravi Dhaliwal was sixth at 59 kg.
The UFV non-varsity club team was represented by Brad Hildenbrandt and Amanveer Kaler. Hildenbrandt, moving up two weight classes from last season, took bronze in the heavyweight (120 kg) division, while Kaler dropped both of his matches in the 65 kg class.
“The first weekend, I think, is where they kind of find out where they are,” said Cascades co-coach Raj Virdi. “We made a couple of errors in our matches where we could have changed things completely. But that happens in wrestling.
“It was a really good weekend. We don’t have too much quantity, but we do have quality.”
The UFV wrestlers also participated in exhibition matches on Friday evening, prior to Saturday’s official Canada West event, and combined for a 4-1 record. On the men’s side, Purewal and Hildenbrandt both won their matches 10-0 by technical superiority in the second round, while Kaler fell to Dylan Bray of Saskatchewan.
Dhaliwal, a first-year wrestler out of Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Seconday, had a strong start in the exhibition matches, beating Faye Tuck of the Saskatchewan Huskies and Alberta’s Katie Bridge. She ended up losing to those same two wrestlers on Saturday, though.
“She made some small errors, but other than that, she wrestled very, very well,” said Virdi, noting that if Dhaliwal had replicated her Friday victories on Saturday, she would have won the bronze medal. “For a first-year to come in, it’s tough competition, especially this tournament. We’ll see her progress a lot in her confidence and her abilities.”