Wrestlers Gear Up for GHAC Championships

Wrestlers Gear Up for GHAC Championships After City Showdown
Posted on 02/21/2024

By Larry Moko
The sport of wrestling is gaining a foothold again in Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic high schools.
This year’s city championship tournament was held for the first time ever at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School and organizers point to signs of renewed interest.
Stefanie West, wrestling coach at More, estimated the event attracted 140 athletes.
“All seven schools have entries, which is huge,” she said.  “We’re very excited that Hamilton wrestling is growing so much.”
At More alone, the program has attracted 35 competitors. And since its formation a few years ago, the St. Thomas More program has hosted two tournaments plus the city finals.
Next month, the OFSAA championships will be held locally at United Soccer Centre.
“We’re co-hosting OFSAA,” West said. “Everybody has been supporting each other.”
In action on the mats Thursday, the perennially powerful Bishop Ryan Celtics once again captured the boys, girls and overall team points titles.
“It’s going to be tough for us,” BR coach Sheldon Francis said during the meet. “All schools are represented, which is good.”
The Celtics finished first in the boys division with 123 points. More and Brebeuf deadlocked for second with 117 but More got the nod because it won five golds compared to four for Brébeuf.
The Knights of St. Thomas More placed second behind BR in both girls’ team and overall team.
Outstanding male and female wrestler selections were Luke Bistoyoung of More (83 kg) and Juliana Ruiu of Bishop Ryan (57.5 kg).
“Other standouts from our school were Aydan Cook and Jennifer De Medieros,” the More coach said. “Aydan took home gold in front of an electric home crowd. Aydan beat a Grade 13 Bishop Ryan wrestler who had beat him at GHAC last year.
“And our Grade 11 team captain, Yousef Al-Udayli, became a three-time city champion.”
Individual gold-medal winner for girls: Olivia DeGirogi, Brébeuf, 41 kg.; Shaira Aligan, St. Mary, 51 kg.; Shelby Vanderlip, BR, 54 kg.; Juliana Ruiu, BR, 57.5 kg.; Baylee Bettencourt, Cathedral, 61 kg.; Ella De Almeida, BR, 64 kg.; Taylor Engelen, BR, 67.5 kg.; Jaslene Niculita, BR, 72 kg.; Jennifer De Medieros, More, 95 kg.; Deanna Rawn, BR, 115 kg.
Boys’ individual gold went to: Marquis Jones, More, 38 kg.; Mohammad Alshhadat, More, 44 kg.; Anthony Canuto, Brébeuf, 47.5 kg.; Sebastian Lucia, BR, 51 kg.; Aydan Cook, More, 54 kg.; Gavin Guinto, BR, 57.5 kg.; Moatasem Al-Mesaar, Cathedral, 61 kg.; Omar Albarmawi, Brébeuf, 64 kg.; Osamah Alhariri, Brébeuf, 67.5 kg.; Yusef Al-Udayli, More, 72 kg.; Joshua Ramon, BR, 77 kg.; Luke Bistoyoung, More, 83 kg.; Owen Monaghan, More, 89 kg.; Phoenix Lazar, Brébeuf, 95 kg.; Aiden Nedelko-Payne, BR, 130 kg.; Daniel Morris, St. Mary, 130+ kg.
The top three finishers in each weight category qualify for the GHAC championships on Feb. 22 at Bishop Ryan.

Photos by Richard Andoga

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