It was a day in which seven wrestlers fell agonizingly short of dethroning a dynasty the sport has never seen. Winning six medals at the 2006 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Wrestling Championships, the Concordia Stingers placed second to the eight-time CIS men’s champions Brock Badgers.
The teacher, coach Victor Zilberman, guided his students to four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the sport’s finale this weekend at Brock University.
Coach Zilberman’s son, David, a CIS silver medallist from a year ago, upped his hardware one place, taking home the gold medal after defeating Mike Neufeld in the 130kg weight division. Zilberman emphatically took care of the defending CIS champion, erasing any doubt that what happened at last year’s championships was an upset. Zilberman avenged the loss to Jamie Cox of Guelph of a year ago by beating him in the round-robin portion of the classification. Zilberman won the first period via a throw, then scored a three-point takedown as he forced Cox out of bounds.
Prior to Zilberman’s gold medal match, Tony Ronci won by technical superiority in his bronze medal match, giving Concordia its first medal of the weekend.
“The first period was really shaky, I was lucky to get through the first period,” Ronci said, “but I knew in the second round, that if I got him down, my par terre was very superior and I could end the match just like that.”
In the 90kg gold medal classification, Ronci’s teammate Jon Rioux took home gold – his point-scoring ankle picks the key to his win.
James Mancini was less fortunate, losing the 61kg finale to Jon Rice of Regina, relegating him to silver medal position.
The Stingers’ Tim Wadsworth displayed dominance in his 65kg gold medal match against Bo Gregson from Simon Fraser. Wadsworth scored two points with a gut wrench on his way to a 4-0 victory in the first period and subsequent 3-0 victory in the final period. A large contingent of Concordia supporters expressed their approval with applause after Wadsworth’s convincing win.
“I try to approach every match with an open mind,” said Wadsworth. “I try to be ready for anything. You just have to go out there and be ready.”
The team’s final gold medal came courtesy of Tyler Marghetis, a two-time CIS champion, looking to make it three. Facing Paul Murphy from Simon Fraser, Marghetis scored several times in the first period to put an immediate stop to the two-minute round. A three-point double leg score, followed by another three-point score gave the Stinger an advantage heading into the second round. In the second round, it was much of the same as Marghetis scored a three-point pick and a one-point push out of bounds. The result was a third CIS gold medal and a fitting end to the CIS tournament.
“Concordia has a history of producing very strong individual wrestlers,” Marghetis said. “We have a program that offers a lot of attention from the coaches. This year we’ve developed a larger number of athletes to draw from. We came a close second and next year we’re going to add some more wrestlers, which will bode well for us.”
The final tally placed the Badgers slightly ahead of Marghetis and Concordia, once again defending their championship and sending the Stingers home disappointed, but hopeful to improve in their future.