Ten Victoria athletes competed at the high school wrestling provincials in Abbotsford on the weekend.
Though not everybody medalled, the experience was “a great one for the kids,” said Esquimalt high school coach Mike Thompson.
Esquimalt sent four wrestlers: Dan Lebreton, Jake Carder, Warren Clark and Josh Fairfield. Fairfield improved greatly in his final season, which started with a gold medal in his 84-kilogram class at the 2010 B.C. Summer Games in Langley.
But Fairfield, Carder and Clark missed the podium in Abbotsford.
“(They) wrestled really well with a couple wins and a couple losses each,” Thompson said.
Lebreton was Esquimalt’s best bet for a gold, competing at 78 kgs, though he was up against Jasmit Phulka, a wrestler highly regarded as the one of the best, if not the best, of any wrestler in B.C.
Lebreton took silver while Phulka won gold, going the whole tourney without giving up a point.
Reynolds’ Shayne Jones finished fourth in the 66 kg.
Three wrestlers also attended from the Victoria Bulldogs, the local district team coached by Ed Ashmore.
Royal Oak middle school’s Nolan Mitchell, just 14 years old, gave notice he’ll be one to watch in the future. Mitchell won bronze in the 41 kg class, winning four of five matches from a field of 17 wrestlers.
Brett Matthews, 16, of Stelly’s didn’t place but won two of his four matches in a pool with 24 wrestlers.
Mt. Doug’s Alexi Argyriou, 17, finished fifth, taking the long route with six wins in eight matches.
“He had a real busy day, going and going through the loser’s bracket and back again,” Ashmore said. “He can be proud to have gotten back to where he did.”
That ends the high school season but Thompson is already looking ahead to next year as Esquimalt won the bid to host the popular Island Novice tournament in November.
“I was very proud of how our team performed throughout the year and the few guys that chose to go to provincials proved they were competitive at the provincial level,” Thompson said.