Cascades wrestlers hit the mat

UFV Cascades wrestling team ready for 2015-16 season

The University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program heads to Calgary this weekend for its first Canada West tournament of the season.

The Dinos Invitational runs Saturday at the University of Calgary.

Competing on behalf of the Cascades this fall will be Pravi Dhaliwal, Ashley Chouinard and Devin Purewal.

On the women’s side, Dhaliwal and Chouinard give the Cascades a pair of wrestlers with the pedigree to challenge for conference medals.

Dhaliwal emerged as one of B.C.’s top high school wrestlers over the past couple of years, competing with Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Hawks. In 2014, she was named the outstanding female wrestler at the Upper Fraser Valley championships, and went on to win silver medals in the 60 kilogram weight class at both the B.C. high school championships and the BC Summer Games. In 2015, she was crowned the provincial high school champion in a match that was voted the most exciting gold medal final by tournament officials.

“I chose UFV since I already train a lot here and know the program is great and successful,” Dhaliwal said. “I want to become a junior and senior national champion and go to the Olympic trials one day.”

Chouinard has had success on the national stage in 2014, competing for the Saskatoon Junior Huskies club program, she won the 65 kg silver medal at the Canadian juvenile wrestling championships in Guelph, Ont. At the junior nationals that same year in Edmonton, she was fifth at 63 kg.

On the men’s side, Purewal is heading into his second season at UFV, and he excelled on the mat in 2014-15. The graduate of Abbotsford’s Yale Secondary won the gold medal in the men’s 72 kg division at last year’s Dinos Invitational, and he earned silver medals at UFV’s Cascades Classic and at the Canada West championships.

The UFV wrestling program will host its second annual Cascades Classic tournament on Jan. 31 at the Envision Athletic Centre. The Canada West championships run Feb. 12 and 13 at the University of Winnipeg.