Wrestling to the Top

Stingers Men Steal Gold, Women Finish a Successful Year

David Tremblay wins his fourth straight gold medal Photo by Rita Davidson

Concordia is on top of the college wrestling world yet again.

The men’s team finished first at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships in Thunder Bay last weekend with two gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Despite coming in ninth overall, all three members of the women’s team also finished on the podium.

The CIS championship brings collegiate wrestlers from all around Canada and pits them against each other to determine Canada’s best. Last year, Concordia placed first in team standings for the first time in 10 years. With 12 wrestlers competing this year, Concordia sent one of its largest contingents ever to nationals.

On the men’s side, David Tremblay, a former Canadian junior national champion and current senior national champion, won the gold medal in the 61 kg category on Saturday, making it his fourth straight.

Tremblay is currently in contention at the 2012 London Summer Olympics and has to finish first or second at one of several qualifying tournaments to earn his spot. His chance will come in late March at the Pan American tournament in Kissimmee, FL.

Also on the podium were veteran James Mancini, who took gold in the 65 kg category, Scott Schiller, whose notable effort earned him second place in the 72 kg category, and rookies Greg Rossy, who nabbed the 130 kg bronze, and Irankah Nariman, who did the same in the 82 kg category.

The men’s team was rounded out by Noël Tremblay (fourth in the 57 kg weight class), Mitchell Krauter (fourth in the 76 kg), Stephen de Layen (fifth in the 68 kg) and Trevor Banks (seventh in the 54 kg).
Though the women’s team finished ninth overall, this was due to the smaller size of their squad, not a lack of talent, as each of the three women took home a medal.

Nikita Chicoine, who won silver in the 63 kg category, added a fifth medal to her résumé.

Chicoine, a three-time Concordia female athlete of the year, placed first in three of her four bouts this season. It’s her fifth and final year of eligibility, but she has high hopes for the women’s team in the years to come.

“It’s a bit upsetting that we only have three women competing. I’d like to see enough women compete so that we can win a title like the men did,” said Chicoine. “We did our best and unfortunately I won’t be there next year, but I believe that next year’s team will do just as well,” she added.

Veronica Keefe and rookie Linda Morais rounded out the women’s contingent with a bronze medal apiece in the 72 and 59 kg categories, respectively.

With his team finishing as high as they did, Stingers head coach Victor Zilberman won CIS coach of the year. Born in Russia, Zilberman is a multiple international medalist as well as Concordia alumnus.

This is Zilberman’s third coach of the year win, as he’s led the Concordia wrestling team to six national championship victories and brought home more than 65 gold medals at the CIS national championships—in addition to five world champion medalists, including his son, David Zilberman, who competed for Canada in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Victor has been a member of the Canadian coaching staff at four Olympic games and a number of World Championships.

“Victor is the reason I’m wrestling at [Concordia],” Tremblay said. “He is the only one who told me that I could compete at a national level. I owe all of this to him.”

It’s a second straight title for the Concordia team and, with most of the team staying next year, the title could be in reach again.

“I think we can take it next year; we’re all returning and our rookies will only get better,” Tremblay said. “We don’t have one of the biggest teams, but we do have one of the strongest.”