The Godinez Gonzalez sisters, Karla and Ana, dominated on the mats and at the awards banquet on Saturday as the Canada West wrestling championships wrapped up in Edmonton.
The UFV Cascades’ siblings from Surrey, B.C. each won a Canada West award in addition to individual gold medals at the conference tournament.
Cascades sophomore Karla Godinez Gonzalez was named Canada West’s outstanding female wrestler, winning all four of her matches in the 55 kg weight class without surrendering a single point. She’s the first UFV wrestler, male or female, to win a most outstanding wrestler award at the conference level.
Younger sister Ana was voted the Canada West female rookie of the year – an award Karla won last season. She laid waste to the competition at 63 kg, allowing just one point against while winning three of her four matches via technical superiority.
“The amount of time they put into wrestling is incredible – they’re students of the sport, and they did what they’re capable of this week,” Cascades head coach Raj Virdi enthused. “They’re so dominant in every position on the mat, and when they need to score, they score.
“Ana is a powerhouse wrestler – she’s so unbelievable to watch, it amazes me. And Karla wrestled a great tournament, not a single point scored on her. She wrestled like a champion. She’s ready to take the next step.”
Brad Hildenbrandt added a third gold medal for the UFV wrestling program, defending his title in the heavyweight (120 kg) division. The Surrey, B.C. product’s only close call came in his opening match on Friday, when he had to come from behind to edge Jordan Tholl of the Regina Cougars 6-4. Both wrestlers are ranked nationally in their weight class – Hildenbrandt No. 1, Tholl No. 3.
“It was great to see him win another Canada West championship, but his main focus is winning another U SPORTS title,” Virdi said. “He’s got the capability to do it, but it’s anybody’s tournament when you step on the mat. If he wrestles the way he did this week, he’ll do it again.”
In other action on the men’s side, four Cascades rookies climbed the podium. Parker McBride (54 kg), Jacob Torres (61 kg) and De’Andre Williams (76 kg) battled their way to silver medals, and Karan Dhillon (72 kg) added a bronze.
“Being a first-year wrestler, it’s tough going against guys who are much older than you,” Virdi noted. “But they wrestled with great class, the way we’ve been training the last six months. I’m proud of all the rookies – they did what they needed to do.”
The Cascades’ seven individual medalists qualify for the U SPORTS championships, Feb. 23-24 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. That’s a record for the UFV program, which sent four to nationals in 2017.
Four other grapplers competed on behalf of the Cascades in Edmonton. Brittany Chiu was fourth in the women’s 59 kg division, Glaysia Sparling was fifth in the women’s 82 kg, Haseeb Javed was fifth in the men’s 68 kg, and Kamil Golowko was fifth in the men’s 100 kg.
The Cascades finished fifth in both the men’s and women’s team standings. The host Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas swept the team titles.