Young Sabres impress

Isaac Bernard of Guildford Park Secondary throws Colton Koopmans of Maple Ridge to the mat during a 63 kg. match at the Upper Fraser Valley meet Saturday at W.J. Mouat Secondary in Abbotsford.  Bernard placed first. - JOHN MORROW / BLACK PRESS
Isaac Bernard of Guildford Park Secondary throws Colton Koopmans of Maple Ridge to the mat during a 63 kg. match at the Upper Fraser Valley meet Saturday at W.J. Mouat Secondary in Abbotsford. Bernard placed first.
— image credit: JOHN MORROW / BLACK PRESS

Considering the youth of the team, the Guildford Park Sabres figure they got the most from their male wrestlers at last weekend’s Fraser Valley championships in Abbotsford.

Paced by a pair of gold medalists, the Sabres placed fourth in the team standings with 50 points, 14 back of third place Maple Ridge and 16 behind runner-up W.J. Mouat. Abbotsford’s Rick Hansen won the team title with 99 points.

“We only had one Grade 12, and two Grade 11s,” said Guildford Park coach McRae. “The rest are in Grade 8 and 9, so it looks pretty promising for the future.”

Isaac Bernard, the lone Grade 12 on the Guildford Park roster, continued on his path toward a fifth straight B.C. championship by winning in the 63 kg. category.

“There was no competition for him,” said McRae. “He knows he’s going to dominate whoever he steps onto a wrestling mat with. He weighed in at 59 kg., but wrestled in the 63 kg. class. He was the strength to compete in the 70 kg. class.”

Diego Esparza, a second-year wrestler and a Grade 9 student, was the only other Guildford Park wrestler to place first, doing so in the 48 kg. class.

“He has an outside shot at a top six finish at the B.C.’s, which would be very good for him,” said McRae. “He won the Fraser Valleys handily, it wasn’t close. He hasn’t had a great year, but this weekend he was a different wrestler. I hope he can carry it through to provincials.”

Other medalists from Guildford Park included Husayn Mouhamed (second in 38 kg.), Stas Kalinowski (third in 45 kg.), Will Thamavong (third in 54 kg.), and Jacob Rainbow (second in 110 kg.).

Thamavong impressed his coach with his performance in a very competitive weight class.

“He placed behind two B.C. champions,” said McRae. “He was just a little behind in experience, but he does the basics very well.”

Gagan Hundal placed fourth in 48 kg. as a Grade 8, faring well competing against older competition.

“He was close in each match, but you could tell he wasn’t as experienced as the other wrestlers,” said McRae. “His body position and skill-set is good. He’s a long shot for a top six at provincials, but he could surprise.”

- Several other wrestlers from Surrey schools earned podium finishes. Local medalists were Jaskarn Ranu (first, 70 kg.) of Lord Tweedsmuir, Dilsahib Nahal (first, 90 kg.) and Daman Bilen (second, 90 kg.) of Princess Margaret), Paul Sahota (first, 110 kg.) and Yosh Phull (second, 70 kg.) of Tamanawis, Aron Mann (first, 110-plus kg.) and Karan Basra (second, 51 kg.) of Enver Creek, Many Kahlon (second, 110 kg.) and Jason Cruz (third, 51 kg.) of Frank Hurt, Billy Sahota (third, 66 kg.) of L.A. Matheson and Jason Nijjar (third, 84 kg.) of Panorama Ridge.

- The Guildford Park girls team was comprised of just four wrestlers, but their point total was enough to claim the first Fraser Valley female wrestling championship in school history.

The Sabres earned 28 points, four more than both Maple Ridge and Heritage Park.

Adrianna Miteva in 51 kg. and Joy Lee in the 54 kg. group both placed first. Tekaenabo Tamuno in the 90 kg. class and Zion Lee in 51 kg. both placed third.

- Other female medalists from Surrey schools at the Fraser Valley meet were Kandeel Samra (first, 64 kg.) and Anjali Soni (third, 64 kg.) of Queen Elizabeth, Donna Bytyqi (second, 60 kg.) and Maddie Freedman (second, 69 kg.) of Lord Tweedsmuir, and Ami Sidhu (third, 75 kg.) of Frank Hurt.

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