Print Edition: January 14, 2015
This is getting to be a little ridiculous from the UFV men’s wrestling team. At UFV we have a lot of impressive teams that have played well this season; the men’s basketball team has won 22 straight regular season games, and the women’s basketball team is defending their national bronze medal this season. But the wrestling team is making waves and dominating the Canada West competition this season.
In just two conference tournaments they have earned gold medals, and have done so in a dominant fashion. This past weekend they travelled to Edmonton for a tournament hosted by the University of Alberta Golden Bears. The tournament included some of the premier wrestling talent from the Canada West, including the aforementioned Bears and the Winnipeg Wesmen, home to national silver medalist Kyle Nguyen.
It is crazy to imagine that at this time last year, the wrestling team was just a thought at UFV, and now they are one of the most dominant programs in Western Canada. Coaches Raj Virdi and Arjan Bhullar have built a program that was unimaginable to many last year. The two men, who have Olympic wrestling experience between them, somehow transformed our little school into a wrestling powerhouse, and could very well be the next dynasty of Canadian university wrestling.
Just look at the numbers from their trip to Edmonton. They scored 49 team points from their individual victories that earned them first place, beating second-placed Alberta by a whopping 17 points. To put that into perspective, the other five teams outside the Cascades were separated by only six points.
Individually the Cascades weren’t that bad, either. Jasmit Phulka, the 82-kilogram beast, won his third gold medal of the year in his category (and also won at the Calgary Dino Invitational and the SFU International). The best part of the day for the Cascades, however, came in a heavyweight match-up against a national medalist in the Winnipeg Wesmen, Kyle Nguyen.
It was the Cascades’ Manheet Kalhon that would play spoiler for Nguyen, pulling off the upset 7-5 win in the heavyweight category.
Coach Raj Virdi was ecstatic about his team’s performance, and commented to Cascades Media about the tournament showing.
“We didn’t even have our full lineup, and we were able to be the best team in Canada West this weekend,” he said. “It’s something that’s tremendous, and myself and Arjan and the team have worked really hard to get to where we’ve gotten so far. Throughout the tournament, everyone wrestled really well.”
The Cascades are off until February 1 — Super Bowl Sunday — when they host the Cascades Classic at the Envision Athletic Centre in Abbotsford.