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WOSSAA 2023 wrestling

Elgin wrestlers shine at WOSSAA


  Parkside's Dale brothers endure different days same results highlight

  17 local athletes qualifying for the OFSAA wrestling championships


  February 27, 2023


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By Rob J. Ross

LONDON, Ont. - An ole' tale of two wrestling brothers.

One had a relatively short day, winning three matches none lasting much longer than a minute.

The younger brother had the busier schedule with seven matches, two going the distance before a decision.

At the end of the day however, both Tyler and Owen Dale, from the Parkside Stampeders, achieved a shared goal, a spot at OFSAA, the high school provincial championships.

The Dales are among 17 wrestlers from Parkside, St. Joe's, Central Elgin and East Elgin, heading to OFSAA, March 7-8 in Ottawa, as Elgin County schools shined at the WOSSAA championships, Friday at Banting high school.

Parkside placed third in the combined team standings and the Central Elgin Titans, fifth, behind champion Banting and runnerup Saunders.

The Titans were second in the girls standings, behind Banting, with Parkside fourth and St. Joe's, fifth.

The Dales led the Parkside boys to third behind Saunders and Montcalm.

Tyler Dale and Stampeders teammate Julie Boyko were voted WOSSAA male and female MVPs. Dale taking gold in the boys' 67.5-kilogram class while Boyko is the girls' 64-kg champion. Tyler also won the Harry Gerris male award for the Thames Valley Regional Athletic (TVRA) Most Outstanding Wrestler of the year.

Two athletes from each weight division advance to OFSAA. The gold medalist, usually undefeated, automatically earns a berth. The silver medalist does also advance, unless challenged by third place who has not previously fought the silver medalist at WOSSAA. If third place wins the challenge bout, they take the OFSAA qualifying spot.

In the female weight classes, 83 kilograms and higher, there are three qualifying spots at WOSSAA, due to lower number of competitors province wide.

Tyler Dale dominated his division including capturing the gold medal in less than a minute over Nathan Sweet of London Saunders. Locking the legs in an ankle lace, Tyler quickly flipped Sweet four times for the victory.

"Normally it's done from the ground," Tyler said. "But I was going to stand up with him and try to stack and pin him with it. But I couldn't get it there so I just stood up and turned it from there."

Waiting for matches was more of a challenge for Tyler than the competition on the mat.

"It was a tough wait since semifinals were done at 12:30. Four hours to wait for one match that lasted less than a minute," Tyler said. "I really wanted to win that match. Feels great to know that I'll be at OFSAA. Whatever happens there I'd be happy with it. It feels great having it all lead up to this point just to go to OFSAA."

Tyler vastly improved over his fifth place at WOSSAA in 2020. The 2021 and 2022 seasons were cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.

"I feel a lot of muscle development and growth just with getting older helped," said Tyler. "Taking my time to focus on what I'm doing at practice instead of just going through moves quickly."

Owen Dale likely had the busiest schedule of any competitor after losing his first match to Zeph Klassen, of Tillsonburg Glendale.

"After my loss I was down. I thought I was out of contention after losing," said Owen. "Then I realized that you could challenge and that drove me to try to win every match."

Owen wheeled off seven straight wins, including the bronze medal match, a rematch with Klassen, followed by a successful challenge over Andre Mrkobrada of London Lucas.

"My bronze medal match was against the guy I had loss too and knowing that if I could beat him I could qualify for OFSAA really drove me and I ended up mercying him," Owen said. "That was a big plus in my day and made it easier to go out in the challenge match."

On the day Owen had three wins by pin, two by the 10-point mercy and two went the full four minutes, winning on points.

"Typically I stick with my ankle pick, but it wasn't working in my first match. So I worked on more my high crotches and I got three really nice high crotches in my bronze medal match and two good ones in my qualifying match," Owen Dale said. "I'm happy. I don't know how to describe it. My dad was crying. My brother was crying. It was great to run off after the match and give them a big hug."

Tyler and Owen add to the family legacy in wrestling, as their dad, Jeremy Dale and uncle, Adam Dale, both competed at OFSAA.

Parkside has a team of six heading to OFSAA, including the Dales, Boyko, Ryan Nash, Aba Coombs and Gabe Forsyth.

The Central Elgin Titans send six athletes as well, gold medalists Ivey Ludwig, Clark Jackson, Hailey Basacco and Jack Weisz, along with Kailey Beauchamp and Kendelle Scott.

Gold medalists Hannah King, Cecilija Meglic, Alex DiCristiforo and silver medalist Helen King, keep the tradition alive for the St. Joseph's Rams.

Gold medalist Makayla Rice represents the East Elgin Eagles.

From the mat

Boyko returns to OFSAA for a third time following an almost three year absence from the sport.

"I was unhealthy to do it last year. My goal was just to be able to do it this year. I wasn't expecting to go to OFSAA at all. I was like, I'm just going to go and have fun this year because every year all it did was stress me out," said Boyko, who dropped down a weight class, from 67.5 kilograms.

"64 is more my style. I'm glad I cut down. It was good competition that didn't get me hurt," Boyko said. "In 67.5, I'll go take someone down by the legs and they'd just sit on me because they're so heavy. At 64, I can still do something and I'm able to do that fast pace stuff."

Boyko won gold defeating Maggie Mackenzie of the Medway Cowboys, 14-4.

"We were tossing each other around. I normally do shots and I think she was expecting that. So I did some throws she wasn't expecting. It worked out," said Boyko, who has a modest goal for OFSAA.

"My goal every year is just to get a sweater," laughs Boyko. "I don't go to OFSAA expecting to win matches. My coaches' (goal) will probably be get some points. Win a match. I have done that."

For Jack Weisz, injuries in previous seasons have prevented the Titan from even competing at the TVRA championships. Now in Grade 12, Weisz made up for lost time going undefeated in the 83-kilogram class, taking a tough final against Delsin Soloman, of London Clarke Road.

"I hadn't had a lot of close matches this year. He was tough. He was one of the toughest guys I faced this year," said Weisz. "I remember walking back after I was put on my back. That was only the second time I've been scored on. I was thinking, this is not going the way I thought it would. I had to reset myself. I went in there and focused up and I think ultimately that is what really helped find my success."

Listening to his body also prolonged his Grade 12 season.

"In my grade 9 year I fought through it if I felt injured," Weisz admits. "This year I knew it was my last year and it was going to be my last opportunity. Whenever I felt something wasn't right, I knew I had to save myself for right now."

His future now is OFSAA with five teammates.

"I'm super excited, especially to have this many people go," said Weisz. "I've watched our team grow and develop in to a team that is beating some of the biggest schools in London. To see where we are now is really awesome."

That includes Bryson Ferguson despite missing an OFSAA berth.

"He did get a fourth place finish in a very tough weight class," Weisz points out. "He's a first year wreslter in Grade 10. He's not a big guy (but) watching his skills develop was really something."

Ivey Ludwig continues to pin down victories.

The Grade 12 Titan had only two matches due to earning a bye with her top seeding and pinned both of her opponents.

Ludwig held Sophie Koopman of London Banting to the mat for the girls' 67.5-kg gold.

"In my first year winning WOSSAA is pretty crazy," Ludwig said. "I feel so much adrenaline pumping through my veins right now. It's awesome."

The TVRA most outstanding female wrestler had three pins at the conference meet.

Ryan Nash is a WOSSAA champion as a freshman.

The Grade 9 Stampeder won the boys' 51-kg class with a 3-0 record.

"Getting good shots really, really helped me. My shots and being able to get in and get the legs," said Nash, who beat Rhedam Gurung, of London Montcalm to secure gold. "The last match was the hardest, but that's when my shots helped me."

Positive mindsets were instrumental in gold medal performances for Rams' Hannah King and Cecilija Meglic.

King defeated cross town rival Mandy Penner, of Parkside, in a close girls' 47.5-kg gold match.

"When she got me down, when she was on top, I thought I was going to lose. Then I thought to myself that I can do anything," said King "A positive mindset. If you go into a match and you think you're going to lose, then you just put all those worries in your head. But if you think you're going to win and do your best, even if you lose, you're less sad about it and just think of it as a learning experience."

Meglic brings that positive frame of mind and a background in martial arts to the wrestling mat.

"I'm been doing jitsu and judo all my life so wrestling seemed interesting. It's very similar," Meglic said. "I was wasn't worried about going to OFSAA. I kind of just live in the moment. Like right now I'm in a match, I'm okay, I just have to finish this. I kept a positive mindset. I was telling myself that I can do it. I can achieve it."

In her WOSSAA debut, the Grade 11 athlete defeated Central Elgin Titans' Kailey Beauchamp for the girls' 51-kg gold.

Fourteen additional athletes from Elgin County placed third to sixth, scoring team points, including four bronze medalists from Parkside.

Zoey Astley-Duncan took the bronze medal, in the girls' 67.5-kg class, Abi Coombs, girls' 83-kgs, Nolan Hicks, boys' 47.5 and Owen Dale, boys' 64.

Dan Power, Stampeders, fourth, boys 51; Bryson Ferguson, Titans, fourth, boys 54; Dollan Brown, Titans, fourth, boys 95; Emely Boldt, Eagles, fourth, girls' 61; Julia Boin, Rams, fifth, girls 61;Hayden Mount, Stampeders, fifth, girls' 51; Alex Vandernaalt, Titans, fifth, girls' 54; Braylen Sutherland, Stampeders, fifth, boys 130; Rylee Parliament, Eagles, sixth, girls' 61; Nefi Isami, Titans, sixth, boys 67.5; Blythe Cheverie, Stampeders, sixth, boys 72.

Becca Gutteridge, of London Saunders, is the Harry Gerris female TVRA Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Year.


WOSSAA results





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