PORT HARDY—For the second straight season, Port Hardy Secondary School wrestlers Dusty Cadwallader, Graeme Wiggins and Quinton Wamiss have qualified for the B.C. Provincial High School Championships.
This time, they’re all making the trip.
The trio departed yesterday for the trip to Penticton for the two-day championships, which will wrap up Saturday afternoon.
A year ago, with the provincial-qualifying Vancouver Island Championships hosted by PHSS, the three grapplers each qualified to advance.
But Wamiss was a Grade 8 student in his first year of wrestling and qualified in a small weight class without winning a match at the Islands. Wiggins, on the other hand, suffered a ruptured ear drum in practice two days before the provincial tourney. Both were left home for the weekend.
This season, all three wrestlers earned their way into championship finals at last week’s Island championships, at Nanaimo’s Dover Bay Secondary, and all three claimed silver medals.
Fifth-year coach Joe Humphrey notes Cadwallader is the one wrestler in the Whalers’ program who has been with him since Humphrey arrived to help resurrect a program that had been dormant for a couple of seasons. Cadwallader, who will compete at 90 kilograms, and Wiggins (78 kg) are the team’s co-captains.
Cadwallader and Wiggins will also travel this summer to Europe with members of the Alberni Valley Secondary School Program. The trip will include both wrestling and a stop at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London to watch the world’s top grapplers in action.
Wamiss may well be the team’s most improved wrestler. Often competing against much older rivals in the 110+ kilogram (heavyweight) class, Wamiss has taken strides this year that include a gold medal in the Campbell River Invitational Tournament and bronze at the high-calibre Alberni Valley Invitational.
“He still has a way to go,” Humphrey said of Wamiss. “But he’s been in the (practice) room every day and done all the work. He deserves to make the trip.”
The three were helped in practice over the past week and a half, a stretch Humphrey referred to as “hell week”, by teammates Jack Van Graven, Liam Scott and David Darnell, who stuck around for workouts despite being eliminated from provincial consideration at the Island tourney.
The Whalers will join wrestlers from Alberni Valley — Humphrey’s alma mater — on a charter bus that will take the ferry to the mainland and on to the Okanagan for the meet. Following competition, the wrestlers will all go out together for a meal and drive through the evening to catch the ferry back and, eventually, return to Port Hardy Sunday.
“It’ll be a long five days,” Humphrey said.