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The Canadian Wrestling Team Trials Bring Triumph and Heartache

December 06, 2015

(Strathcona County, AB) – With Olympic team aspirations on the minds of most, day two of the Canadian Olympic Team Trials in Strathcona County, Alberta saw the best in Canadian wrestling perform, resulting in hard-fought matches and upsets within already qualified weight-classes.

For the early afternoon session, the competition saw the third ranked wrestlers compete against the national team alternates within the 12 Olympic weight classes. Among others heading into the final round of the ladder, where competitors would have to win two of three bouts to own the weight class, were Cleopas Ncube (74KG), Danielle Lappage (63KG), Jordan Steen (86KG), Linda Morais (58KG) and Amarveer Dhesi (125KG) who had fought their way through the pool on day one and earlier defeated the third and second ranked athletes within the ladder rankings to earn the opportunity to battle the current Canadian Champion within their weight classes.

“Every athlete in this competition is wrestling with all of their energy and passion for the chance to compete to qualify their weight class and be nominated to Team Canada by Wrestling Canada Lutte,” says Wrestling Canada Lutte Executive Director Tamara Medwidsky. “Canadian wrestling can be proud of the depth of field shown here today in Strathcona County.”

Heading into the competition, two weight classes had already been qualified at the September Senior World Championships in Las Vegas. Genevieve Morrison, the recent 2015 World Bronze Medalist and 2015 Pan Am Champion had qualified her 48KG weight class for the 2016 Olympics at the 2015 World Championships and Braxton Stone-Papadopoulos, a 2015 Pan Am Games Champion had also qualified her weight-class (63 KG) for the Olympics by winning her quarter-final match at Worlds.

With national champions knowing that their competitors had earned the right to face them in the afternoon session, tensions were high in the warm-up area and on the single competition mat.

At 48KG, Dinos Wrestling Club’s Jasmine Mian had been ranked third in the weight class but had fought her way through former 2012 World Champion Jessica MacDonald and met 2015 Canadian Champion Morrison in the final round of the ladder; a best two out of three. In two of the most competitive and hard-fought battles of the day on the mats, Mian was successful in beating Morrison 4-2 and 3-2 to win the weight class.

Directly after the second win, Mian spoke about her thoughts.

“Honestly I was just thinking about getting one point at a time. Gen and I wrestle all the time as we are teammates, so you have to go one step at a time and not think about the result,” said Mian. “Looking forward to Rio, I honestly hope to represent the weight class for the other girls because our weight class is so full of amazing athletes so I am so honoured to represent.”

Having been off injured for the past year, in the 63KG women’s weight class Danielle Lappage impressively fought back from the pool and through the third and second ranked athletes to meet national champion Braxton Stone in the ladder final. The two matches were again hard-fought and crowd pleasing with Lappage winning the matches 6-4 and 8-2. Lappage was overcome with excitement following the win, and emotions were raw for all.

“I have never felt this way before, I felt confident and determined because it was a long road to get here. I didn’t wrestle last year because I was injured, so it feels incredible to win,” said Lappage. “I switched my focus to December for these trials, I’ve been trying to get here for over a year now, for this single tournament… I can’t believe I can now be nominated to compete at the Olympics.”

With trial weight class winners now crowned, the men’s and women’s freestyle wrestling team members, within the ten weight classes that have not already been qualified through international competition, will be focused. The three additional opportunities for international qualification events, include:

  • Pan American Olympic qualifier, March 4-6, 2016 (Frisco, USA) – top two in each style and weight-class qualify.
  • the first international qualifier event, April 22-24, 2016 (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – top three male and top two females in each style and weight-class qualify.
  • the final international qualifier event, May 6–8, 2016 (Istanbul, Turkey) – top two in each style and weight class

FW 48 – Jasmine Mian (Dinos WC)
FW 53 – Samantha Stewart (Black Bears WC)
FW 58 – Michelle Fazzari (Brock WC)
FW 63 – Danielle Lappage (Burnaby Mountain WC)
FW 69 – Dorothy Yeats (Tristar Wrestling Academy)
FW 75 – Erica Wiebe (Dinos WC)

FS 57 – John Pineda (Burnaby Mountain WC)
FS 65 – Haislan Garcia (Burnaby Mountain WC)
FS 74 – Cleopas Ncube (Montreal YMHA)
FS 86 – Tamerlan Tagziev (Team Impact WC)
FS 97 – Arjun Gill (Burnaby Mountain WC)FS 125 – Korey Jarvis (Guelph WC)

For complete results from today’s men’s and women’s freestyle competition as well as the schedule for the Greco-Roman Canadian Wrestling Trials competition which begins tomorrow visit: https://wrestling.ca/teams/canadian-wrestling-team-trials. To subscribe to the live webcast visit http://sportscanada.tv/wrestlingcanada/. In addition to the webcast stream, live tweets (https://twitter.com/WrestlingCanada), photos, Facebook posts (https://www.facebook.com/WrestlingCanada) and updates can be linked to at https://wrestling.ca.