HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING
Four Woodstock wrestlers and eight in total from Oxford County will take part in OFSAA wrestling
Woodstock will have four wrestlers head to OFSAA March 1 to 3 in Brampton with five having medalled at WOSSAA finals Feb. 17. Kaylee McQuaid, left, Dinfy Vanzanvoort, third from the left, Angel Murray, middle, Elliot Tasker, third from the right and Damian Watson, second from the right, all winning WOSSAA medals. (Submitted photo)
Woodstock will have four wrestlers compete at OFSAA Wrestling after they qualified from WOSSAA finals Feb. 17 at Beal Secondary School in London.
College Avenue Secondary School’s Kaylee McQuaid, Angel Murray, Damian Watson and Dinfy VanZanvoort will represent Woodstock at provincials. Murray won bronze, while Watson, McQuaid and VanZanvoort earned gold as Huron Park’s Elliot Tasker also won WOSSAA bronze with the majority of divisions only seeing the top two wrestlers advance to OFSAA.
The four wrestlers will also be joined by three from Glendale - Hunter Tandy, Ben Harvey and Christian Leliveld - with Ingersoll District Collegiate’s Brayden Todd also vying for his third consecutive OFSAA gold medal.
For the five Woodstock wrestlers, the four CASS students are in Grade 10 with Tasker being in Grade 9.
With high school wrestling not having age divisions, the field is often dominated by older wrestlers in their third, fourth of fifth year of high school.
Wrestling coach Gary McQuaid said the five more than held their own as the youngest team at WOSSAA.
“I was more than impressed at having four Grade 10s qualify for OFSAA… That’s incredibly rare. Elliot won an unbelievable bronze medal match 9-8. It’s pretty amazing how well they did,” he said in a phone interview. “I’m very impressed with them.
As they head to OFSAA, they’ll be against stiff competition with the majority of wrestlers being in their final years of high school and many having club wrestling experience.
“The reality is your three medallists (at OFSAA) nine times out of ten will be Grade 11, 12 or 13,” McQuaid added. “There’s a lot of victory lap kids that go back to get a medal.”
VanZanvoort won gold, beating last years WOSSAA champion and Grade 13 student 10-2, while Watson also defeated last years WOSSAA champion 14-10 in his division.
Kaylee McQuaid won her division and will return to OFSAA for the second year in a row with Murray proceeding after winning bronze and Tasker took bronze in a close match, but his division only saw two proceed to provincials.
The Woodstock Wrestling Club also had five wrestlers compete at Ontario Cadet and Juvenile Championship Feb. 4 in Brampton.
Watson won his division with Kaylee McQuaid also winning hers. VanZanvoort placed third in hers with all three continuing to the Canadian Cadet and Juvenile Championships in Windsor April 7 to 9.
The club also saw Tasker place sixth in his category and Tristan Rodgers get bronze in his division. Ingersoll’s Brayden Todd, who wrestles club with the London-Western Wrestling Club, was third in his division.
The four medallists were also invited to the Mohawk Valley International Wrestling Festival March 11 to 12 Canastota, N.Y.
“Overall, all five of them couldn’t have wrestled better. They weren’t intimidated,” McQuaid said. “They didn’t back down. That will prepare them well for nationals.”