Earl Marriott Secondary’s wrestling team may be in just its third year of existence, but already the program is making big strides under head coach Tom Willman.
And next week, the team will send five wrestlers to B.C. High School Wrestling Championships in Abbotsford, besting last year’s participation by three.
“It’s a record for Earl Marriott,” said Willman, a former wrestler himself who competing at a handful of national and international events, including the Junior Olympics, when he was younger.
Representing the Mariners at the Feb. 24-26 provincials will be Logan Smith and Mason Pomeroy, both of whom will compete in the 41-kg class; Kaige Thompson, in the 54-kg division; Brian Houghton, in 66-kg; and Corey Coon, in 74-kg.
“As their coach, I’m pretty impressed,” said Willman.
“These young men have had a very good season, and making provincials is well-deserved.”
Earl Marriott’s team started with more than 40 members at the beginning of the year, and has now whittled to 18 “dedicated, hardcore” competitors, according to Willman.
They finished fourth overall at Surrey championships, and at Fraser Valley’s last week at Maple Ridge Secondary, Houghton, Smith and Thompson won gold, and Coon picked up a silver. The fifth member of the team, Pomeroy, was injured and could not finish.
At provincial championships, Willman figured all five of his wrestlers have a chance to find the podium, or at least finish in the top 10, which isn’t bad, the coach added, considering some are in their first year competing.
“They’re all pretty excited, and I think they all of them – especially the smaller guys, Logan and Mason, have a good chance to finish in the top 10,” Willman said.
“And that’s pretty good, considering it’s provincials. There will be a lot of good wrestlers there.”
Medals or not, Willman said he simply expects the five boys to compete hard and wrestle to the best of their abilities.
“What I’m hoping for it that all their matches are competitive. I’m not too concerned about medals,” he said.