Stingers Wrestling Team Wins Six Medals at CIS Championships

Maroon and Gold Wrestlers Return From Fredericton Tournament With Hardware

Veronica Keefe was victorious at the CIS Championships, bringing home her very first gold medal. Photos Rob Blanchard
Keefe’s teammate Linda Morais was equally awarded the gold medal for her great efforts this past weekend. Photos Rob Blanchard

Concordia’s wrestling team may not have been able to send out wrestlers in all the different weight categories, but they still had a very rewarding weekend.

The Stingers brought home six medals from the 2014 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Wrestling Championships—two gold, two silver and two bronze.

“We had some expectations going in for all our wrestlers that we had competing,” said assistant coach David Zilberman. “And for the most part I think we did very well.”

This year’s tournament was held at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

Despite the lengthy trek to the Maritimes, it was a worthy one for the Stingers, including third-year exercise science student Linda Morais, who defended her title in the 63 kg weight class.

“It really felt pretty great to win for a second time in a row,” said Morais. “There may have been more pressure on me as a defending champion, but I had the confidence.”

Morais played the entire weekend without giving up a single point, having mercied all her opponents. When a wrestler mercies their opponent, it means they are up by more than 10 points and the match is decided prematurely.

For her efforts, she was awarded with the Fair Play Award at a banquet Saturday evening.

“It was just a great way to finish the season,” she said.

Morais’ colleagues also did exceptionally well, all making it to the final match, with her teammates Veronica Keefe (72 kg) and Elizabeth Milovitch-Sera (55 KG) also bringing home gold and silver, respectively.

“It was a learning curve for me coming into this year,” said Keefe. “I feel that this year I’ve definitely matured, gained more experience and felt I personally had a pretty successful year.”

Keefe, in her fourth year wrestling at Concordia, had never been at the top of the podium entering this past weekend’s championships. She previously finished fifth and won bronze and silver but never gold—until now.

“I’ve only been wrestling for six years now, and I feel like I’m gaining more techniques and more preparation each year,” she said. “It’s rough to not finish first so to see this year work out was really great.”

However, the tournament left a bittersweet taste in sophomore wrestler Jordan Steen’s mouth.

After winning gold in the annual national tournament last year, Steen was the favourite to be the champion yet again.

However, a tough first-round matchup meant Steen had to settle for a bronze medal.

“Personally it was very disappointing to not bring back the gold again,” said Steen.

“My first match was probably my toughest and I came up short 3-2. I’m settling with bronze but I’m not too pleased with myself.”

Steen was unbeaten throughout the entire 2013 campaign, going a staggering 25-0.

This year Steen could only rejoin the team in the winter semester when he was a full-time student by CIS standards.

Students must be enrolled in a minimum of three courses to be eligible to compete in the CIS in a given semester.

“This year there were a lot of tougher opponents in my [weight] bracket,” said Steen.

“I know I could’ve and should’ve won my matches this weekend.

“I just know that through the off-season I have to fix my mistakes, move on and grow from this learning experience. I know I have three more years left of eligibility and I’m going to make them all count.”

From the sidelines, teammate Morais could only describe what she thought was going on in Steen’s head.

“[Steen] had a really tough first round matchup, [it] was heart-wrenching to see. He did really well, it just maybe wasn’t his day,” said Morais.

Zilberman echoed his wrestlers’ sentiments about Steen finishing third.

“Of course it’s disappointing, I’m sure more so for him,” said Zilberman.

“He went in there to compete, we hoped he would win, and so did he, but he had a tougher time this year.”

When asked about any moments that really stood out in a positive light for his team, Zilberman was quick to reply.

“Seeing Keefe go out there and take home the gold was pretty special,” said Zilberman.

“Knowing how hard she’s been working and always missing out on the top prize before this year, it was great for her and for our team.”