Ucluelet Secondary School Warrior Ottis Crabbe pins his opponent at the War on the Floor tournament. (Ucluelet Secondary School Photo)

Ucluelet Secondary School Warrior Ottis Crabbe pins his opponent at the War on the Floor tournament. (Ucluelet Secondary School Photo)

Wrestling season underway in Ucluelet and Tofino

“The kids all wrestled really well and it was a good early season test for them all.”

Local wrestlers have shaken their offseason rust off in rapid fashion as the Ucluelet Secondary School Warriors hit the mats at two consecutive weekend tournaments to start the season this month.

The Warriors first crack at this year’s competition came on Dec. 9 in Chemainus.

“The kids all wrestled really well and it was a good early season test for them all,” said coach Mike Rhodes. “Overall, I was really happy with the effort of all our kids and I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead as our kids work hard and continue to progress and battle like warriors.”

He said Owen Rhodes and Evan Johansen both earned gold medals in their weight-classes. Lukas Bewick earned a silver medal and Ottis Crabbe and Abigail Titian each fought to fourth place finishes.

“Abby had a really nice pin in her second match but, unfortunately, injured her shoulder in her next match or she may have even finished higher in her weight class,” Rhodes said. “Owen and Evan looked really strong in their matches. They had really solid finishes, wrestled smart and listened well to the coaching from the corner.”

The Warriors then traveled to Burnaby for a Dec. 15-16 War on the Floor tournament, giving them a broader taste of this year’s province-wide competition.

Owen Rhodes, Evan Johansson and Lukas Bewick each came third in their weight classes and Otis Crabbe finished sixth.

“They all did really well,” Rhodes said. “I was super impressed with all of them.”

He said this year’s squad features five core members showing up consistently, down from the double-digit rosters of the past few seasons.

“It’s a bit of a rebuild year, but I know there’s a lot of keen kids at the elementary schools in both Tofino and Ucluelet so, hopefully, we’re going to get some of those kids coming out with us in the next couple of years,” he said.

There’s still time more members to sign up and anyone interested in competing is encouraged to visit coach Rhodes and get started.

“We’ve got a pretty open door policy. Because it’s not a team sport, we can always add kids and move them around. There’s always opportunities to come out,” he said. “If you want to test yourself and you want to challenge yourself, I don’t think there’s any better way to do it….We’ll get you into the wrestling room and get you on the mats and go from there.”