(THE NEWS/files) Ryan Hicks grabs an opponent’s foot in the provincial championships in 2017. He will once again be a favourite to win a provincial title this year.

Ramblers have another strong young team

Wrestling squad hosts Icebreaker tournament on Tuesday at Maple Ridge secondary

The Ridge Meadows Ramblers wrestling team is going to have more bling than a hip hop concert this year, predicts coach Bill McCrae

Those weren’t the exact words of the old-school coach, but he likes his team’s chances of bringing home the medals and trophies up for grabs in the coming campaign.

Ryan Hicks is a Grade 11 who was a national champion last year as a Grade 10.

Marquesis Haintz is another Grade 11 who was a B.C. champion last year. McCrae said only a broken arm – suffered while wrestling – kept her out of the medals at nationals.

Ivy Threatful was third in B.C. and at the nationals as a Grade 9, and he expects her to build on that this year.

And Adrian Truong took third at nationals last year, and is still just in Grade 10.

These top contenders are all eligible to wrestle for at least another year after this one, ensuring the Ramblers will have a dynastic team.

Last year the Ramblers finished third in the province as a team.

“We don’t have any Grade 12s, and we’re still going to place,” said McCrae.

He said there are 27 kids on the wrestling team this year, and although there is generally some desertions after the first week or two, that isn’t happening this year.

“Usually by this time, they are cutting themselves, but there is no sign of that – the work ethic is unbelievable,” said the coach. “It’s the history and tradition of the team, and everyone is welcoming.”

There is no tag-team wrestling – the grapplers fight out on the mat, all on their own. But everyone who places sixth or higher in their weight class contributes points to the team score.

“It’s an individual sport, but collectively you’re now a team,” explained the coach. “You’re not only wrestling for yourself, you’re wrestling for your teammates.”

The action kicks off in Maple Ridge on Nov. 27, when hte team hosts the Icebreaker tournament. There will be three mats set up in the gym, running continuous matches from 3-6 p.m. There will be some of the best high school wrestlers in the province, and the action will also include members of the kid wrestling team for elementary students.

Another highlight of the season for the Ramblers will be hosting the zone championships, which will be held at the school on Feb. 8-9.

It all leads up to the B.C. championships, to be held in at the Langley Events Centre from Feb. 17-19.

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