The Quesnel Indoor Soccer Complex had a different appearance last weekend as it was put to use for the North Central Zone Wrestling Championships.
Correlieu, a new program in northern wrestling, hosted the championship that saw 14 teams attend from throughout the north. A small contingent of nine wrestlers from NVSS participated in this years championship. The zone championship is a qualifying competition for the Provincials held later this month. Top four boys and top 3 girls in each weight division will earn their right to travel to Abbotsford.
Despite its small size, the Vanderhoof squad placed third in the boys division and fifth in the girls, beating many larger programs. Six athletes returned with medals and all finished in the top six in their perspective weight classes.
Zone Champion Harley Harper, a grade 12 student, easily defeated all opponents confirming his ranking as one of the top wrestlers in the 84kg division in the province. Harley with a 16-1 season record, is a top prospect and should qualify for the provincial team heading to Windsor, Ontario for the National Championships in April. Grade 8 student Sarah Ebert showed great improvement over the year defeating PGSS, who previously beat her in the final, making Sarah the youngest zone champion at the competition.
NVSS returned with three silver medalists. Grade 11s Mat Scott and Chris Wilson both qualified for provincials in the 57kg and 60 kg divisions respectively and have the potential to be in the top 10 at the Provincial level. Kaiya Conniff, a grade 8 student also has the potential to do well on the provincial stage.
Grade 8 Britley McKee earned a bronze medal in her second competition of the season. Britley gained valuable experience and will be a tough competitor next season. Grade 10 Eli Anderson and grade 8 Jennor Nohr placed 5th and 6th in the 60 kg division while Alex Racher earned a 5th place finish in the 63 kg class.
The team continues to train hard in preparation for the provincial championships. Only 4 athletes, each with the potential for a top 10 finish, will be making the journey to Abbotsford. However, all team members have played an important roll in preparing them for this competition. Next February NVSS will be hosting the Zone Championships and hope to take the zone title, there is no question that the team is talented enough.