With a formidable roster and a collection of returning star wrestlers, the Brock men’s team is poised to defend their sixth consecutive championship title when they host the U SPORTS Wrestling Championships at Brock University from Feb. 21 to 22.
The Badgers are focused more than ever this season as eight varsity wrestlers will first take part in the Canadian Wrestling Trials’ men’s freestyle event at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls beginning on Dec. 6.
“Our men’s team is looking forward some big challenges ahead in the next couple of months starting this weekend with the Canadian Olympic Team Trials,” said head coach Marty Calder. “Ultimately, we look forward to competing for a national championship in February in our gym. These guys love the big moments, we hope to capitalize on the opportunity in February.”
To qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, wrestlers must first win the Trials.
Brock has eight student-athletes competing across various weight classes in Niagara Falls: Ligrit Sadiku (57-kilogram division), Chris McIsaac (65kg), Cruiz Manning (65kg), Ty Bridgwater (74kg), Clayton Pye (86kg), Max Budgey (86kg), Ignatius Pitt (86kg) and Richard DesChatelets (97kg).
Sadiku, a Kinesiology student from Summerside, PEI, is the No. 2 seed in the 57kg group. He’s likely to give Darthe Capellan, who has held the top spot in the 57 for the past two years, a run for his money.
Sadiku and the Badgers traveled to the United States for their training camp this year in order to give themselves an edge during this delicate time of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. They worked out with the No. 1-ranked wrestling team in the NCAA: the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“That was a brutal training camp,” said Calder. “We were wrestling their best. The volume and the intensity is through the roof, and Ligrit held his own. He has a lot of heart.”
Sadiku, who was born in Kosovo and possesses a strong Albanian heritage, said his work ethic comes from his parents.
“They always believe in my abilities and always supporting me in my wrestling,” he said. “The biggest thing I learned from both my parents and coaches is how important the value of hard work is when achieving a goal.”
Pye, a senior Psychology student, is seeded fourth in the 86-kilogram weight class heading into Trials.
As a Badger, Pye has found success at all levels of university wrestling despite his fair share of adversity.
He won a U SPORTS gold medal in 2018, and also secured a silver and two bronze medals on the national stage. Pye has also captured a pair of gold medals at the OUA Championships, including a silver.
Pye was a much different wrestler before coming to Brock. He grew up in Ingersoll and joined the Badgers after graduating from Stratford Northwestern Secondary School.
He credited Calder for shaping him into the wrestler he is today.
“Before I got to Brock, I wasn’t exactly what you’d call a tactician. Just a brute,” said Pye. “Marty taught me my best moves and has worked diligently with me to refine the fundamentals. Besides that, he’s just a great coach in general. He’s picked me up when I’ve been at my worst and brings the best out of my wrestling every practice.”
Pye’s 86kg weight class at Trials also includes teammates Ignatius Pitt and Max Budgey. The No. 1 seed of this field is Alex Moore of Concordia University. A member of the Montreal Wrestling Club, Moore hasn’t had a point scored against him at the past two Canadian Championships.
“My competition each have their own unique styles,” said Pye. “Some are fast, some are strong, and some are very technical. I know what to expect and I have game plans for my opponents. I expect a battle, and that’s what I’ve been training for.”
This season, the varsity men’s roster also includes Tejvir Boal, Reet Chahil, Dominick Ditoro, David Emanuel, Matthew Hiebert, Qasim Khan, Joe Martin, Bobby Narwal, Joshua Piette-Walton, Roch Provost, Matthew Pugliese, Garette Saunders and Mark Summers.
MEN’S OLYMPIC TRIALS ENTRIES AND WEIGHT CLASSES
Arciaga, Melvin – EWC Bears
Aziz, Freddie – Dinos Wrestling Club
Capellan, Darthe – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club
Jagas, Samuel – Brock Wrestling Club
Malu, Joshua – Team Impact
Moher, Alexander – Brock Wrestling Club
Musonza, Golden – Regina Advanced Wrestling Academy
Nikolaou, Chris – London-Western WC
Palani, Aso – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club
Sadiku, Ligrit – Brock Wrestling Club
Schiller, Scott – Montreal WC
Todd, Brayden – Montreal WC
Alexander Torres, Jacob – BMWC
Asselstine, Michael – EWC Bears
Bodnarchuk, Joshua – Dinos Wrestling Club
De Marinis, Vince – Montreal WC
Leder, Patrik – Team Impact Wrestling Club
Lee, Josh – Unattached
Manning, Cruiz – Brock Wrestling Club
McIsaac, Chris – Brock Wrestling Club
Musonza, Gilbert – Regina Advanced Wrestling Academy
Podlog, Jeremy – Independent
Uzunovic, Elvir – Guelph Wrestling Club
Williams, Dillon – Team Impact
Balfour, Jevon – Brock Wrestling Club
Barmish, Sam – Montreal WC
Bauer, Alec – Independent Ontario
Bridgwater, Ty – Brock Wrestling Club
Chaves, Alexander – Guelph Wrestling Club
Crooks, Michael C – EWC Bears
Fayad, John – Dinos Wrestling Club
Godding, Joel – Independent Ontario
Goleniec, Nicholas – EWC Bears
Kato, Trystan – Hamilton Wrestling Club
Kryger, Brett – Regina Midwest Wrestling Club
McNeice, Callum – Dinos Wrestling Club
McNeice, Connor – Dinos Wrestling Club
Ncube, Cleopas – Kingston & Area Olympic Wrestling Club
Phulka, Jasmit Singh – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club
Quinton, Connor – Hamilton Wrestling Club
Rowe, Tyler – Brock Wrestling Club
Ruslanzada, Guseyn – Montreal WC
Rutner, Caleb – Montreal WC
Shannon, Peter – Carleton Wrestling Club
Aghamirian, Ameen – Hamilton Wrestling Club
Ayyoub, Ismail – NCWC
Bains, Jasonpreet – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club
Brown-Theriault, Alex – Carleton Wrestling Club
Budgey, Max – Brock Wrestling Club
Johnson, Andrew – Saskatoon Wrestling Club
Johnston, Collin – London-Western WC
Lee, Hunter – Saskatoon Wrestling Club
Magarrey, Bradley – Hamilton Wrestling Club
Moore, Alex – Montreal WC
Munro, Brock – Keystone Wrestling Club
Narlidis, Ioannis – Central Toronto Wrestling Club
Pitt, Ignatius – Brock Wrestling Club
Pye, Clayton – Brock Wrestling Club
Saxena, Shekhar – Akhara Of Champions
Shamiya, Ahmed – Hamilton Wrestling Club
Zahra, Ben – Hamilton Wrestling Club
Bazrafshan, Amir – Team Impact
Bertholet, Noah – Saskatoon Wrestling Club
Deschatelets, Richard – Brock Wrestling Club
Jacobs, Nico – Dinos Wrestling Club
Kato, Jalen – McMaster Wrestling
Randhawa, Nishan – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club
Steen, Jordie – Montreal WC
Barghout, Aly – Montreal WC
Choquette, Frederick – Montreal WC
Dhesi, Amarveer – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club
Hildenbrandt, Bradley – Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club
Jarvis, Korey – Guelph Wrestling Club
Molle, Sean – Dinos Wrestling Club
Schug, Joshua – EWC Bears