UFV wrestlers putting out the welcome mat

Hosting their first-ever meet this Sunday at the Envision Athletic Centre

It’s been a year of firsts for the University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program in its inaugural season: first tourney win, first No. 1-ranking in Canada and now, the program will host its first-ever meet this Sunday.

More than 130 wrestlers from across Western Canada will be participating in the Cascades Classic at the Envision Athletic Centre.

“We’re really excited for it,” said co-coach Raj Virdi. “It’ll be a good tournament, because you’ll see a lot of club guys wrestle as well, guys who are on the national team.”

Five Canada West programs – the Calgary Dinos, Alberta Golden Bears/Pandas, Saskatchewan Huskies, Regina Cougars and Winnipeg Wesmen – plus wrestlers from the NCAA Div. 2 Simon Fraser Clan will be at the meet.

In just its first season of competition, the wrestlers from UFV sit atop the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) rankings.

“It was a surprise,” admitted Chanmit Phulka, who won a silver medal at 100 kg at the Golden Bear Open. “We didn’t think we’d be ranked No. 1, because we’d only been to two tournaments and we haven’t competed against any teams from the East yet.

“But rankings are just rankings. Come the Canada West and the CIS (championships), that’s what really matters.”

The Cascades Classic begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday and runs until roughly 2 p.m.