Slamming home for the weekend
By Ian Ross
Sitting atop the highest CIAU peak is the Ontario wrestling crown and seven teams are currently gazing up at it with hunger in their eyes. For some it will be an easier climb but one thing is certain only one team will make it to the top first to capture the title. For the Western men's wrestling team, the climb, held here on campus at Alumni Hall Saturday, will be a tough but possible ascent.
Ranked fifth in the province and 10th in the country, Western's squad enters this weekend with several unanswered questions, hoping to find the right answers that will place it at the front of the class.
One of the questions is how prepared the squad is to face this level of competition after seeing a variety of opposition throughout the season.
"It's tough to go to national carding tournaments and then compete in other weaker tournaments because it makes the competition inconsistent," team captain Kyle Chocorlan said.
Another setback was the scaling back of contact wrestling during practice this week after a series of skin infections infiltrated the team.
With all of these question marks surrounding the team, it is difficult to gauge how prepared it is for this weekend, which places the team in an underdog role.
"It's going to be a really close championship," head coach and former Olympian Ray Takahashi said. "It's nice because a lot can happen. We're not ranked to win but with that in mind, there is the possibility that we could sneak in the back door."
The team, equally balanced with rookies and veterans, will look to Chocorlan for both experienced leadership and his own personal success on the mat. Chocorlan, a third-year student, brings to the team experience in championship competition, placing fourth in the 52-kilo division at last year's senior nationals.
"It will be tough to win it all but I think it's easier to go into this weekend as underdogs," Chocorlan said. "If some things go our way, who knows what could happen."
In the race to the top of the mountain, Brock and McMaster have already grabbed a head start, holding Olympic and national team members, respectively, in their arsenal of climbers.
"We are confident and excited about this weekend," Brock head coach Richard Deschatelets said. "We know what has to be done and we have done that by focusing on the specifics to our game."
However, a bad hand hold or the wrong footing can send even the best climbers to disaster and allow the underdogs to reach the summit at the end of the day.
I LOVE YA, YA LITTLE BUGGER, I LOVE YA. Kyle Chocorlan and Howard Henningham of the wrestling Mustangs got some silly sauce and got emotional. OUAA playoffs are this weekend at home.