The Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Wrestling Championships were held in the Thunderdome on Feb. 24 and 25.
The competition featured Canada’s best university wrestlers, including ten Lakehead athletes: Dustin Helwig (55 kg), Jackson Taylor (65 kg), Scotty Christian (72 kg), Jake Devlin (76 kg), Preston Mikulasik (130 kg), Breanne Beh (51 kg), Karleah Bonk (59 kg), Jenny Pranger (63 kg), Sara Catanni (72 kg), and Emma Brightwell (82 kg). Kelsey Dayler had also qualified to compete at the CIS Championships, but was unable to do so because of injury.
The weekend was packed with excitement and the stands were packed with friends, family, and fellow wrestlers.
On Friday, Helwig took to the mat with style, achieving a five-point throw to end the round just moments in. To score five points, the offensive wrestler must get the defensive wrestler’s feet to go above their head. Hedwig’s throw was the only five point takedown of the weekend.
During Saturday’s finals, five Lakehead athletes—Beh, Pranger, Bonk, Christian, and Devlin—achieved top six finishes. Lakehead also won three medals: Helwig placed second, and both Mikulasik and Brightwell placed first as CIS Champions.
Mikulasik and Brightwell’s victories took place on side-by-side mats with the matches ending only fifteen seconds apart. The Thunderdome was in an uproar.
After his triumph, Mikulasik was almost speechless. “The dream came true,” he said with a grin.
Brightwell was more talkative. “It feels absolutely amazing! I couldn’t have imagined a better way to end my career, in front of my friends, in my own gym, and right beside my teammate,” she said.
In team scoring, Brock women took home the CIS banner, while Lakehead finished sixth. Concordia took home the men’s banner.
At the banquet that followed, Brightwell won the award for female Outstanding Wrestler of the Year, and Mikulasik won the prize on the men’s side.
Photo by Kate Beaulieu.