A historic honour for Brad Hildenbrandt along with a trio of individual gold medals were the highlights in a strong performance for the University of the Fraser Valley wrestling program this weekend, as it played host to the Canada West Championships.
Hildenbrandt not only claimed his third consecutive heavyweight (120 kilograms) men’s title at the conference championship tournament, he took home the Canada West men’s wrestler of the year award. It’s the first time a UFV athlete has won the prize, which is voted on by the head coaches.
Hildenbrandt won his first match of the weekend via pin, and his next two by technical superiority on his way to a memorable awards haul.
Ana Godinez Gonzalez joined Hildenbrandt as the owner of multiple Canada West gold medals – she defended her title in the women’s 63 kg category. The reigning conference rookie of the year was never seriously threatened – she did not surrender a single point over the course of the championship, winning all three matches via tech in a highly impressive performance.
UFV’s De’Andre Williams, competing in a new weight class (68 kg) this year, also earned gold by winning all three of his matches. The Cascades would claim eight other individual medals.
On the women’s side, Cascades wrestlers Amber Wiebe (55 kg) and Calista Espinosa (48 kg) both earned silver.
On the men’s side, silver medals went to Simren Brar (54 kg), Parker McBride (57 kg), Karan Dhillon (82 kg) and Sunny Benning (90 kg). Ali Rahguzar (61 kg) and Amarvir Atwal (72 kg) each won bronze.
The Cascades men finished third in the team standings, amassing 33 points to finish just behind the Alberta Golden Bears (41) and Saskatchewan Huskies (40). The Calgary Dinos (20) were fourth.
The women’s team competition was dominated by Saskatchewan, which racked up 33 points to outdistance Alberta (25), Calgary (22) and the Cascades (14).
The Cascades’ individual medalists advance to the U Sports national championships, Feb. 22-23 at the University of Calgary.
Video by: Sonia Khurana/Black Press
Slideshow by: Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News