Cascades chase podium positions at U SPORTS national wrestling championships

Brad Hildenbrandt (left) is a strong medal contender in the men’s heavyweight division.

Four wrestlers from the University of the Fraser Valley are off to the U SPORTS national championships, hosted by the University of Winnipeg this week.

Brad Hildenbrandt (men’s 120 kg), Amtoj Dhaliwal (men’s 82 kg), Karla Godinez Gonzalez (women’s 51 kg) and Ashley Coupal (women’s 48 kg) will participate in the two-day meet, which gets under way on Friday with the preliminary rounds and concludes Saturday with the placement matches (11 a.m., all times Central), bronze-medal bouts (12:30 p.m.) and finals (2:30 p.m.). Selected matches from all sessions – including all finals – will be webcast live on sportscanada.tv.

Hildenbrandt is perhaps the Cascades’ brightest medal hopeful – he’s coming off a gold medal at the Canada West championships at the University of Saskatchewan two weeks ago, and he’s the only UFV wrestler with previous national championship experience. He was fifth in the men’s 90 kg division at the 2015 event in Edmonton.

Dhaliwal, Godinez Gonzalez and Coupal also brought home hardware from this year’s conference tournament –  they each earned bronze medals, and Godinez Gonzalez was the Canada West female rookie of the year.

“It’s great to be back at the national tournament,” Cascades co-head coach Arjan Bhullar said. “Brad is definitely the leader out of the group, having been there before, and we’re excited for these kids to compete and compete hard.

“We’ve got our eyes on the podium. They’re all going there to compete to the best of their ability, and we’ll see what we come up with.”

The Cascades’ all-time individual medal count at the U SPORTS nationals stands at one: Manheet Kahlon took silver at 120 kg in 2015.

Karla Godinez Gonzalez is this year’s Canada West female rookie of the year.

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