The University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program turned in a solid performance at the season-opening Dino Invitational in Calgary on Saturday, earning a combined six individual medals.
Third-year Cascade Brad Hildenbrandt and rookie Jacob Torres provided the highlights, each earning a gold medal in their respective weight classes. Reigning Canada West and U SPORTS champion Hildenbrandt’s triumph in the heavyweight (120 kg) division was hardly an eyebrow-raiser, but Torres’s triumph at 61 kg was a very positive sign for a young UFV squad.
“It’s exciting to see an 18-year-old kid beating 20, 21, and 22-year-old guys,” Cascades head coach Raj Virdi said of Torres, a Brampton, Ont. product. “It’s great for him.
“Overall, with our team being really young, they’re showing a lot of promise. It’s good to see our young athletes having success.”
Fellow rookies Parker McBride (54 kg), Karan Dhillon (72 kg) and De’Andre Williams (76 kg) earned bronze medals for the UFV men’s team. McBride had a great shot at gold, but was sidelined midway through the tournament due to injury. Dhillon’s podium performance, meanwhile, was a “huge surprise” according to Virdi.
“He has a very unorthodox style that very few people have seen, but it works for him,” Virdi said.
The Cascades also had top-five finishes on the men’s side from Amtoj Dhaliwal (fourth, 82 kg), Haseeb Javed (fourth, 68 kg) and Kamil Golowko (fifth, 100 kg).
On the women’s side, Karla Godinez Gonzalez won the silver medal at 55 kg. Last season’s Canada West rookie of the year suffered her lone loss via pin vs. Lauren Mason of Simon Fraser University.
Cascades rookie Glaysia Sparling finished fourth in an extremely tough 82 kg weight class – the bracket included 2016 Olympic gold medalist Erica Wiebe.
In the Canada West team standings, the Cascades men finished second overall with 41 points, well behind the Alberta Golden Bears (94 points) but ahead of the Calgary Dinos (37), Saskatchewan Huskies (31) and Regina Cougars (8). The UFV women’s team was fifth, accruing 10 points.
Up next on the schedule for the UFV wrestling program is the SFU Clan International next Saturday, Nov. 4.