Cody Osborn is heading to nationals, and putting Westview wrestling on the map.
Osborn has won bronze medals provincially in each of the past two years, and now will be taking his talents to the nationals.
His coach Greg Brock, who oversees the small contingent from Westview Secondary, said what Osborn is lacking in experience, he more than makes up for in toughness. He has a style that is abrasive even in this sport of sanctioned roughhousing.
“He’s an extremely fit and extremely aggressive wrestler,” assessed the coach.
Brock said even wrestlers who beat Osborn walked away knowing they have been in a fight, and asking aloud “Who is that guy.”
Osborn battles in the 60 kg (132-pound) class, which is arguably the most talent-laden weight class in the province.
And he can hang in there with the best. At the provincial championships last month he won four of five matches and took the bronze medal.
In the semi-final he came up against a former national champ. His game plan was to wear him down and then take over the match late. A bit of bad luck, and one bad decision, went against him.
“I could notice that he was getting tired, but then my lip started bleeding,” he said.
Osborn was ahead by a point, and the game plan was working, but while Osborn tried to stop the bleeding, his opponent got a much-needed breather. That nullified the advantage of Osborn’s superior fitness.
Pressing the attack, the Wildcat tried to pounce on his opponent, but the former champion turned the move against him with a counter worth five points.
While it cost his fighter, Brock said the aggressive move showed Osborn has the kind of heart that can’t be coached.
“Are you fighting to not lose, or are you fighting to win?”
In the bronze medal match Osborn fought what he felt was a lackluster first round. He was down on the score clock. He gave himself a talking to, determined to end the match quickly, and 20 seconds into the second round he got the pin.
“I was happy to get the bronze again, but I had higher expectations.”
With B.C. wrestlers generally faring well at the nationals, and with his tough battles against the best in the province, Osborn is optimistic that he can fight for a medal in Saskatoon next month.
He’s practicing regularly, and also has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He said it helps with grappling, but the two disciplines differ considerably in that Jiu Jitsu teaches ground fighting techniques that can be done from one’s back, while wrestlers whose shoulders are square to the floor are considered pinned.
Brock said the only thing lacking for Osborn is competition experience.
“He has the hard work and physicality, now he just needs more mat time,” said Brock. “He’s still a relatively raw wrestler, but the technical aspect of his wrestling gets better every time he steps on the mat.”
His teammate Saber Scott also had a good year for the small Westview Wildcats wrestlers, and won her share of tournament medals. But at the provincials had the misfortune of a tough draw – she faced the eventual gold medallist in her first match, and the bronze medallist in her second.