Maple Ridge Secondary’s gymnasium will be packed with the regions finest young grapplers on Friday (Feb. 7) when they play host to the first-ever Fraser North Zone Championships.
MRSS wrestling coach, Bill McCrae said the school is expecting about 200 competitors from Coquitlam, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby, and New Westminster.
Stakes will be high for the athletes as the tournament will be the qualifier for the B.C. High School Wrestling Championships.
“Athletes have to place within the top four in order to make it to the Langley tournament which will take place next weekend,” said McCrae.
On hand to encourage the grapplers will be Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows.
The local politician will give a speech during the opening ceremonies.
“She is a former provincial champion wrestler for Thomas Haney,” said McCrae, “So she knows the rigours, discipline, and self sacrifice it takes to be a wrestler.”
The high school will be looking to put together a strong run in the lead up to the provincials in hopes they are able to replicate some of their success from last year.
“We’re the defending BC High School women’s champions,” said McCrae, “We won last year in Langley, and we came second overall when we combined the guys and the girls.”
Plans to improve upon their second overall finish were dashed last weekend at an otherwise successful meet in Port Alberni.
“One of our greatest assets popped his shoulder out,” the disappointed coach said; referring to Kayan Haintz, who still managed to earn a gold medal in the tournament.
“He’s pretty much undefeated,” he added, “He’s a stud. Wrestles in the 41 kg weight class. That’s the bad news. Good news is he’s only in Grade 8, so we’ve got another four years of him.”
Also shining at the tournament were Ivy Threatful, a Grade 11 grappler and Ashton Senko, who is in Grade 8. The two girls were selected as Most Outstanding Wrestlers in their respective age grouping in a 450 person meet.
McCrae has high but realistic hopes for the squad at the home meet.
“The team is strong but could be stronger,” he said, “The girls should win the inaugural Fraser North Zone Championships and guys should finish top three.”
The grand opening will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday morning (Feb. 7) and wrestling will start at 11:00 a.m.