Host Mustangs finish meet with seven medals

Coach Takahashi pleased with effort of depleted roster

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs women's wrestling

Courtesy of Andrew Scott

GIMME THAT LUNCH MONEY YOU LITTLE TWERP. Mustangs wrestler Erin Cochrane teaches an un-identified competitor a lesson in manners at the Western Open meet this past weekend in Thames Hall.

Despite missing three key wrestlers, Western’s women’s wrestling team tipped the scales in its favour to pull off a first place win at the Western Open held this past Saturday at Thames Hall.

The men’s team performed just as strongly, finishing third behind visiting teams from Brock and Concordia University.

“Overall as a team we did very well considering we were missing several wrestlers who competed at the Ontario Junior Championships in Hamilton on Sunday. The men finished one point behind second [...], which was our best finish of the season,” men’s team captain Brett Ferguson said.

“There was a big spread of calibre at the Western Open this year. There were some developing wrestlers with few years experience as well as national calibre veterans,” Mustangs coach Ray Takahashi explained.

“Martine Dugrenier of Montreal competed at 72 kg " and won gold. She recently won the World Championships in October and competed at the Beijing Olympics over the summer.”

Takahashi discussed the home court advantage.

“It’s important that we compete at home. Whether one performs better or not, it is good to host a tournament.”

With three top female wrestlers out with injuries, familiarity was the only advantage the team claimed.

“Results of the meet would have been better for us if we had the three compete, but it did not affect the others since, once you’re on the mat " you can’t rely on anyone else " it’s only you out there,” Takahashi said.

Injuries have left the team hurting in more ways than one.

“Having people injured on the team really hurts everyone as it takes away training partners. You can’t be a good wrestler without good partners to work with,” Mustangs wrestler Lesley McCallum said.

“An injury to a team member at any time is discouraging, but suffering an injury during the most important time of the season is very frustrating. Knowing that a teammate has trained hard and made sacrifices all year long for a particular moment of the season and not being able to compete is unfortunate,” Ferguson said.

The missing talent caused little damage as the Mustangs clinched seven medal positions in total, three on the men’s side and four on the women’s.

“We had some great matches throughout the day. All of our members wrestled well, especially Cory Palmer and Matt Bak who both finished second,” Ferguson said.

Mustangs men's wresting

Although he lost in the 76 kg final, Ferguson had a positive attitude toward the match.

“I felt I did some good things during my matches. I executed some techniques that I had been working on during practice which I was happy with,” he said.

“Wrestling is a challenging sport both physically and mentally. A challenge for me is keeping a clear mindset and focusing in on my abilities during tough matches. Remaining composed is an important aspect of wrestling and is an area I’ve attempted to improve upon,” Ferguson added.

Hosted by Brock University, the Ontario University Athletics championships are less than two weeks away and the team is training hard. Last weekend’s competition provided Western with the opportunity to size up their competition.

“Getting a couple of wins against potential OUA competition definitely builds up some confidence,” Ferguson said.

“Our team needs to focus on technique and staying in good cardiovascular shape over the next two weeks. I’m no exception as those are my goals as well,” McCallum said.

Looking further ahead the team has high hopes for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships, which will be held in Calgary from Feb. 26 to 28.

”The ultimate goal for myself and all of the team members is to advance to the CIS championships by placing in the top three at OUAs. As for both the men’s and women’s teams, we always strive to improve on last year’s results,” Ferguson said.

“[This means] the men finishing top four and the women capturing gold. Expecting anything less would be a bit of a disappointment.”

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