Hurricanes defend B.C. wrestling crown

For the second year in a row, the Rick Hansen Hurricanes are kings of the B.C. high school boys wrestling scene.

Hansen Hurricanes teammates Justin Gill (in blue) and Baldeep Gill battle in the 66 kg final at wrestling provincials on Saturday. Justin Gill emerged victorious.

Hansen Hurricanes teammates Justin Gill (in blue) and Baldeep Gill battle in the 66 kg final at wrestling provincials on Saturday. Justin Gill emerged victorious.

For the second year in a row, the Rick Hansen Hurricanes are kings of the B.C. high school boys wrestling scene.

The Hurricanes blew away the competition at the provincial championships in Penticton on the weekend, racking up 74 points to easily out-distance silver medallist Burnaby Central (57 points) in the boys team standings.

“We knew we were in the race, but we weren’t sure we’d win,” head coach Sucha Mann said. “But the boys worked really hard and accomplished what they were looking to do. It’s a big achievement.”

The Hurricanes’ depth was aptly illustrated in the 66 kilogram division, as a pair of Hansen athletes – Justin Gill and Baldeep Gill – met in the gold medal match on Saturday. Justin Gill, a Grade 10 athlete, pinned his Grade 11 teammate in the second round to seal the win.

Hansen’s other gold medal came from Jobanjit Phulka, who was dominant in the 78 kg class. Other Hurricanes medallists included Manveer Gill (silver, 84 kg) and Ranjot Sandher (bronze, 63 kg).

In other action, Manny Gill of Abbotsford Collegiate was predictably brilliant en route to gold in the 74 kg division. The Grade 12 athlete beat Brodie McKenzie of Maple Ridge to lock up his fourth consecutive B.C. high school title.

The W.J. Mouat Hawks finished sixth in the boys team standings with 37 points, and saw three athletes win medals – Amrit Binning (silver, 54 kg), Nishan Randhawa (silver, 70 kg) and Austin Batra (bronze, 74 kg).

Yale Secondary produced a pair of B.C. champs. Matt Dignan won the 57 kg division after finishing second last year, and Zandri Botha was tops in the girls 64 kg class. Botha won her second straight B.C. gold medal, and was the only local female to climb the podium.

Mennonite Educational Institute finished eighth in the boys standings with 34 points, behind a trio of medallists. Dave Sharma won the 45 kg division, while Nav Dhillon (45 kg) and Rajin Gill (84 kg) both brought home bronze.

Abby Collegiate’s Manny Gill takes control against Brodie McKenzie of Maple Ridge in the 74 kg final. (Emanuel Sequiera / Black Press)