Uncertainty and inexperience may have plagued the Mustangs women’s wrestling team, but along with this team’s performance and the experience gained, the event itself was a major success.
Taking place at Alumni Hall, the Mustangs women finished fourth at the Harry Geris Memorial Duals on Saturday. Led by a strong performance from national junior team member Brianne Barry, the Mustangs were able to satisfy their coach’s competitive appetite despite losing out on the overall bronze to the University of Alberta.
“The team did well. We defeated Brock who are defending Ontario University Athletics champions. We also gave Simon Fraser University a good dual. I’m happy we were competitive with those teams. We were beaten decisively by King College, who had a very strong team and we didn’t match up well with them. Overall, I’m happy with the performance,” Ray Takahashi, Mustangs head coach, said.
With teams travelling from far distances including those from Western Canada—Simon Fraser and Alberta—and south of the border—Lindenwood University and Missouri Valley College—the tournament was a rousing success.
“I knew we had a strong field of teams attending our event with Canadian Interuniversity Sport champions, Alberta, and OUA champions, Brock, along with top teams from the USA Women’s College Wrestling Association. Simon Fraser University was second, King was fouth Lindenwood fifth, and Missouri seventh. We have a good team over the eight weights, but I didn’t know how we would match up with the other teams,” Takahashi said.
Competing in the 55kg division, Barry was named the outstanding wrestler at the event. Going undefeated in her five matches, the 2010-11 junior national team member will be looking to anchor the Mustangs in the 2011-12 wrestling season.
“Brianne’s past experience is solid and she has a good future. Hopefully she can transition well into the national senior level. She needs to get high level competition to perform consistently with the best in Canada,” Takahashi said.
In the end, Takahashi was satisfied with his team’s performance and he looks forward to his young team gaining more experience as the season goes on. With a young team, Takahashi will be seeking improvement.
“Some team members need more matches like this to get more experience. The majority of team members need the experience of competing at a high varsity level where matches have a higher intensity,” Takahashi said.
The tournament, named after former Mustangs coach Harry Geris, held near and dear to coach Takahashi’s heart. Geris passed away in April 2008 while helping set up an elementary school wrestling tournament.. A former teammate of Takahashi’s, he felt the tournament was an appropriate tribute.
“I’m happy the event drew top teams and was a success. It’s also a great tribute to Harry Geris and his memory. He was my senior on the national team and teammate on the 1976 Olympic team,” Takahashi said.