Competing against some of the best wrestlers in the nation at the Clan International at Simon Fraser University on Sunday, the UFV wrestling program picked up a couple of top-six finishes and a lot of valuable experience.
“It’s a tough meet, because most of the national team athletes are there,” Cascades co-head coach Raj Virdi noted. “You get a lot of girls and guys from the States, too . . . it’s an international tournament, it’s not a CIS tournament.
“Some of the guys and girls (competing at the Clan International) are people that our guys look up to, because they’re ranked No. 1, 2, 3 in the country,” Virdi added. “That’s where we want to get to.”
Case in point was the experience that Cascades rookie Pravi Dhaliwal got in the women’s 58-kilogram draw. She had a bye into the quarter-finals, where she met Michelle Fazzari of the Brock Wrestling Club. Fazzari is a member of the Canadian national team and a 2016 Olympic hopeful, and she defeated Dhaliwal en route to the gold medal.
On the men’s side, Amrit Benning won his opening match in the 78 kg division to advance to the semifinals, but lost his next two to finish sixth.
In the heavyweight (125 kg) division, Brad Hildenbrandt finished fourth out of five.
Devin Purewal competed in two weight classes. He beat Malcolm Meekins of Saskatoon Wrestling Club in his opener at 74 kg, but fell in the quarter-finals to Shawn Daye-Finley of Black Bears WC in the quarter-finals and then dropped a decision to Brock Munro of the University of Winnipeg on the back side of the draw. In the 78 kg division, Purewal lost both of his matches.
“It’s a good experience,” Virdi summarized, “because they learn how hard they have to work to become as good as they want to be, or as good as the people they’re wrestling.”