Brad Hildenbrandt (right) and the Cascades are hosting their annual home tournament this weekend.

Brad Hildenbrandt (right) and the Cascades are hosting their annual home tournament this weekend.

Wrestling action taking over UFV in Abbotsford

Western Canada Age Class Wrestling Championships and Cascades Classic events running all weekend

The Envision Athletic Centre is set to be a wrestling hub all weekend long.

The University of the Fraser Valley hosts both the Western Canada Age Class Wrestling Championships and the annual Cascades Classic events over the weekend, with hundreds of wrestlers hitting the mat over three days.

It all kicks off today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) with the WCACWC’s.

The event features boys and girls wrestlers from elementary, school age, cadet and juvenile age divisions. The school age, cadet and juvenile divisions showcase wrestlers in 29 different weight classes apiece, while the elementary division weight classes, which feature fewer competitors, will be grouped into pools based on their weight, gender and skill.

Weigh-ins for the cadet and juvenile divisions only occur from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. today, with the wrestling kicking off at 1 p.m. The competition continues tomorrow starting at 8:30 a.m., with finals and awards taking place in the evening.

Saturday night also features deal meets between the Cascades and Saskatchewan Huskies teams at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The Cascades Classic event then takes over the mats on Sunday at 9 a.m.

The event sees the Cascades welcome Canada West wrestlers from Saskatchewan, the Regina Cougars, Calgary Dinos and the Alberta Golden Bears/Pandas teams.

The Simon Fraser University Clan, who compete in NCAA Div. II will also be competing on Sunday.

Cascades head coach Raj Virdi is expecting in the neighbourhood of 500 high school wrestlers for the WCACWC’s, and between 150 and 200 university athletes for the Cascades Classic.

“It’s a great opportunity to host these events on campus,” Virdi said. “It’s great for recruiting purposes – you’ll see high school kids not just from B.C., but from other parts of Western Canada.

“Not every university team will be bringing their entire roster, since it’s the last tournament before the Canada West championships (Feb. 9-10 in Edmonton), but it’ll be a good turnout because Simon Fraser University (NCAA Div. II) will also be there. We’ve got some injuries, so not everybody will be wrestling. But it’ll be a good event.”

Both Cascades teams own U Sports national rankings heading into their home tourney. The men’s team is No. 4, while the women are No. 7.

UFV wrestlers Parker McBride and Ana Godinez Gonzalez are both fashioning outstanding rookie seasons on behalf of the Cascades and will be two to watch this weekend.

Both are ranked No. 2 in the U Sports individual rankings in their respective weight classes – McBride (Duvall, Wash.) in the men’s 54 kg, and Godinez Gonzalez (Surrey, B.C.) in the women’s 63 kg. Both brought home hardware from the recent Alberta Golden Bears Invitational. Godinez Gonzalez, after missing most of the fall due to injury, took gold in her Canada West debut, while McBride earned silver.

Read Wednesday’s print edition of the Abbotsford News for all the details from both events.