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Lakehead’s wrestling team heads to Guelph this weekend for the OUA championships. The Thunderwolves will enter athletes in 18 of the 19 weight categories: 11 in the men’s, the 7 in the women’s.
“My hope for each Lakehead wrestler is to put it all out there,” Thunderwolves wrestling coach Francis Clayton says. “The OUA is a tough conference, so we will need to work hard to make it through.”
Lakehead is sending a good mix of first, second, and third-year wrestlers with a couple of seniors, to make what should be a very competitive group.
On the men’s side, Hasan Ercan (54kg), Abraham Mfonpa’re Ntienjem (68 kg), Alex Richer (76 kg), John Campbell (100 kg) and Myles Bellegrade (120 kg) will all be making their first appearance at the Championships. Sam Lockie (57 kg), Steven Chambers (65 kg), Jesse Leach (72kg), Marco Palermo (61 kg) and Jacob Luczak (90 kg) will be making return appearances at the competition.
Both Luczak and Palermo were OUA finalists last year, winning OUA silver medals and moving on to claim USPORTS national competition medals as well.
On the women’s side, Megan Smith (48 kg), Elinam Afidenyo (55 kg), Maggie MacGillivray (59 kg), Madison Clayton (63 kg), Erin Clayton (67 kg), Ashley Gravelle (72 kg) and Klara Patel (82 kg) will be competing.
Gravelle is Lakehead’s only returning OUA medalist on the women’s side this year, as she took the silver medal in her weight class in 2018.
Wrestlers need to finish in the top three to be guaranteed a trip to the USPORTS championships later in February.
“The main objective for us,” coach Clayton says, “is to qualify wrestlers for the USPORTS Championships that take place at the end of February. So we need our athletes to wrestle strategically and with a lot of effort.”