Looking back, a new storyline began to emerge through the Cascades 2018-19 season. Yes, it was incredible that UFV continued to perform well on the biggest stages in the nation, but this quickly became something else.
UFV wrestling, when it comes to individual performance and talent, is truly among the highest clubs in USPORTS and in Canada. With that said, there is a challenge ahead and a clear path forward for the team, even though they continue to reach the podium.
The season really took a turn at the Canada West championships, which were hosted by UFV. Brad Hildenbrandt, Ana Godinez Gonzalez, and De’Andre Williams all picked up golds. Add five silver and three bronze medals and that rounded out the podium hall for the squad. This event showcased the incredible potential of the UFV Cascades, but also highlighted their only flaw.
The Cascades men, despite their clear edge and skill, finished third in team standings for the tournament. The women’s team finished fourth, sporting a last place finish that is hardly representative of the championship-level roster. How is this possible? Size. The saying “strength in numbers” is very important to understanding team wrestling statistics and placements.
For every wrestler that stands to compete at a tournament, points are given. They aren’t given for not competing, but in the event that a team fields a wrestler and the other team does not have a competitor, the team with the able athlete gets points. This is why it can be confusing sometimes watching UFV, as they dominate their competition at times, and still lose the team score (and therefore, the banner) by large margins. This is no fault of the Cascades program, but it begs the question: will we see a roster increase soon, as the program continues to impress?
The Cascades sauntered into the national championships with confidence after their stellar showing at the Canada West championships. Their confidence would pay off, as they took home five national medals — a record for UFV. Two gold medals, a silver medal, and two bronze medals highlighted the Cascades season and served as a perfect cap on a remarkable 2018-19 campaign.
However, the team scores prevented UFV from obtaining a national banner, just as they did in the Canada West championships. The Cascades now have the right to call themselves a nationally recognized and respected program on the podium, which is incredible for a program that has only been active for five years. Now the question becomes whether they can increase their roster size and take the final leap towards not only individual accolades, but team titles and banners as well.
Image: UFV Cascades Flickr