Connor Hood, Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - The host University of Alberta Golden Bears ran away with the men's team title, while the University of Regina Cougars narrowly beat out the Saskatchewan Huskies to claim the women's championship at the 2018 Golden Bears Invitational.
The Bears won four individual weight classes and added another two podium spots, finishing with 59 points, 14 more than the second-place Saskatchewan Huskies (45 points). The Fraser Valley Cascades earned the third spot with 28 points, while the Calgary Dinos (27 points), and Regina Cougars (12 points) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The women's competition was much closer, with only three points separating first from second, and eight separating first from third. Regina, thanks to a pair of first place and third place finishes, captured the women's title with 40 total team points. Saskatchewan (37), Alberta (32), Fraser Valley (21), and Calgary (19) rounded out the team scores.
The Golden Bears, who have spent a majority of the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the U SPORTS Top 10, got results from all their top ranked wrestlers on Saturday. All three of the Bears wrestlers ranked first in their individual weight classes earned gold medals, including Jason Wong (54 kg), Melvin Arciaga (57 kg), and Aidan McKeage (76kg). Marcus Peterson, the reigning Canada West Male Wrestler of the Year, also earned a gold medal in the 72 kg class. Huskie Liam Graham was the only other university wrestler to capture a gold medal, doing so in the 100kg class.
This is the second tournament win for Alberta this season, after claiming the Huskie Open in Saskatoon earlier this season.
Regina, meanwhile, did their part to improve on their national ranking, passing two teams above them in the Top 10 to claim the GBI title. Regina entered the tournament fourth in Canada, behind both the second ranked Dinos, and third ranked Pandas, but received numerous season bests. Amber Weibe (51 kg) captured the Cougars first gold medal on Saturday, while Inga Hammer, who isn't ranked inside the Top 8 in her class, captured the 72 kg gold. Jessica Rabet (82 kg) and Miki Rowbottom (59 kg) also found the podium for Regina.
The Fraser Valley Cascades will host the conference's top wrestlers next weekend, before the action heads back to the University of Alberta for the Canada West Championship on February 9th.