By Nathan Hutton (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: November 26, 2014

The wrestling team dominated in their first national tournaments, and will be back in action after the break. (Image:  UFV)
The wrestling team dominated in their first national tournaments, and will be back in action after the break. (Image: UFV)

The UFV wrestling team, the newest addition to athletics, has quietly dominated in their first few tournaments of the year. The limited competition available for the team in Canada has given them the opportunity to travel south and showcase their talent against top-tier American talent.

Fortunately for the Cascades, they have Jasmit Phulka. He’s one of the best wrestlers, not only in BC but in all of Canada, and has dominated in early action this season.

It began with the Cascades’ first national tournament at the University of Calgary, where Phulka won his first gold medal of the year in the first-ever tournament in Cascades’ wrestling history. Phulka was dominant in the first weekend, securing three victories in his three fights, and giving up only one point to his competition in the 82 kilogram weight class.

Coach Raj Virdi commented on the skill and talent of Phulka, stating to Cascades Media, “I expect him to be one of the best wrestlers in the CIS, regardless of who he faces. I expect him to crush his opponents, and he did.”

Second was a tournament at the wrestling capital of BC: Simon Fraser University. SFU is a historical wrestling powerhouse, and has always been the staple of wrestling in Canada. Again it was Phulka leading the way for the up-and-coming UFV wrestling team. He dominated in the 86 kg weight class, winning the gold medal again and putting his name out there as the dominating force for UFV wrestling.

The tournament also saw UFV wrestler Rohit Thandi impress in the 61 kg division, earning himself a fourth place finish in the tournament.

Coach Virdi had high praise for his squad after the tournament, saying to Cascades Media, “The whole team wrestled well. For their age and experience, they did fairly well. It was a tough tournament — it’s not just for university students, it was for any athlete aged 18 and up. Some of them were world team members from the US and Canada.”

The third and biggest tournament so far this year recently passed in Forest Grove, Oregon. The first international tournament of the year for the Cascades saw them pitted against their toughest competition yet. For the third consecutive tournament, the Cascades were represented by — at this point, their star player — Phulka, who stormed his way to a semifinal contest before he was forced to pull out with a hamstring injury.

The discrepancy in athletics between American and Canadian schools is apparent in a lot of sports; the American school often dominates its Canadian counterpart. However, the UFV wrestling team is the exception, and following their return to action after the Christmas break, we can expect big things from this squad.


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