Top wrestlers roll in for provincials

B.C.’s top high school wrestlers will be taking to the mat Friday for the 2012 provincial championship at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Nico Carboni of the Penticton Wrestling Club positions himself to bring down Chi Lee Phong during a practice round at Pen High.

Nico Carboni of the Penticton Wrestling Club positions himself to bring down Chi Lee Phong during a practice round at Pen High.

B.C.’s top high school wrestlers will be taking to the mat Friday for the 2012 provincial championship at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Penticton will be represented by Nico Carboni, Egzon Emini, Alyssa Kroeker, Justin Chahil, Leo Kruger, Landon Wigley, Dakota Simmons, Zac Thompson, Josh Regier, Mason Poon, Michael Poon and Braden Marriot-Holm.

Carboni is in his first year and will compete in the 78-kilogram weight class. While he is a later starter according to coach Tony Ramsay, he has shown great improvement.

“He will face tough competition as some of them have started in Grade 8,” said Ramsay. “He has a tough draw and weight class.”

Carboni said he feels ready. Having competed in five tournaments he feels that he has enough experience to have some success. He has no expectations other than to compete as well as he can.

“Never give up,” said Carboni, of the attitude he will take.

He’s glad that the championship is in his hometown and said that will help him.

“I want people to come support,” he said. “It gives me confidence. I will have lots of friends coming.”

Carboni said the key to any success he has will be pressuring his opponent. The Grade 12 student has seen improvement in his skill, but admits he just goes with the flow. Carboni, who won a bronze medal at the zone qualifiers and won one of three matches during the Western Canada Age Class, said Ramsay has been a big help.

“He knows what he’s talking about,” said Carboni, who looks forward to the atmosphere of the two days.

Emini, also in Grade 12, is in his second year. Ramsay described him as a strong athlete, but noted that strength is not everything. Technique and smarts are just as important.

“If he does what I tell him to do he should be successful,” said Ramsay. “He has to the potential to do well.”

Kroeker is another who Ramsay knows has a chance to win. Ramsay said that Kroeker has performed well this season. At the zone qualifier, she took first in the 47-kg girls weight class. During the Western Canada Age Class, she placed third.

Here is a list of visiting wrestlers to watch: Joban Phulka, Baldeep Gill, Justin Gill and Jesse Wagner from Alberni District, Dave Sharma from Mennonite Educational Institute, Amrit Sund from W.J. Mouat, Isaac Bernard of Guildford Park, Mandeep Gill and Manveer Gill from Hansen. Ramsay noted that winners from the Upper Fraser Valley, Lower Fraser Valley and North Shore will be ones to watch.

Ramsay said that wrestling is a great sport to experience. He also said that people not able to come can check results live on www.pentictonwrestling.com and the final will be webcast.

“Things are coming together,” said Ramsay, who is also the tournament chairman. “Mats have come from Texas, Oliver, Osoyoos and Princess Margaret.”

Tickets to watch the championship for the two days are $10. Tickets can be purchased at the SOEC box office.