Each time Langley wrestler Parm Sidhu steps on the mat, he clasps his hands together and briefly looks heavenward.
“Just to pray a little bit,” Sidhu told Black Press Media.
“To thank God for where He got me.”
On Tuesday, one of Sidhu’s prayers was answered when the D.W. Poppy secondary student won a gold medal in the 57 kilogram (male) class at the B.C. Secondary Schools Wrestling Association provincial championships at Langley Events Centre.
Sidhu and opponent Prabjhot Mander appeared evenly matched, but in the end, speed prevailed, with Sidhu pinning Mander to win the match before an enthusiastic crowd that filled the stands in the main gymnasium at the LEC.
For Sidhu, who has narrowly missed taking the top podium spot in the past, it felt like a comeback.
“I won in Grade 8, I lost in Grade 9 [when] I came third, in grade 10, I came second,” Sidhu said.
“It feels really amazing to be coming back on top.”
Sidhu was the sole Langley wrestler to claim gold at the competition, becoming one of 29 champions determined Tuesday afternoon on the final day of the high school wrestling championships.
More than 400 wrestlers from around the province were striving for gold in their respective weight classes at Langley Events Centre during the competition, which began Sunday (Feb. 17).
Consolation matches to determine third place and beyond in the various categories took place Tuesday morning.
Attendance for the event was better than expected, so much so that a second set of bleachers had to be deployed in the main gymnasium, at the cost of eliminating some warmup space for the wrestlers.
Victoria Seal (Mission) and Karan Gill (Tamanawis) each repeated as provincial champions in their respective classes, as well as earning the respective top female and top mMale wrestler awards.
Seal won in the girls 57-kilogram category – her fourth consecutive provincial title – while Gill won for a second straight year in the male 78-kilogram division.
Gill also helped Tamanawis capture the school’s first-ever Boys provincial title with a combined 67 points. Alberni District was second with 65 points and Guildford Park came third at 40.
The Girls title was won by Maple Ridge as they scored 52 points. St. Thomas More Collegiate was second with 47 and Alberni District third at 36.
Alberni District did win their second consecutive Girls and Boys Combined title with 101 points, well ahead of Maple Ridge (70 points) and St. Thomas More Collegiate (64).
“We had a strong group that was part of the team last year,” said Alberni District coach John McDonald, adding that the school takes pride in the fact they typically have a balanced program with an equal number of boys and girls on the team.
“It has been a long-standing tradition in our school that there is equal representation for both the boys and girls, so for us, that is probably bigger than winning an individual,” he said.
Alberni District had won three consecutive aggregate championships from 1996 to 1998.
McDonald anticipates the program continuing its success as they look to replenish the ranks as they lose some, but not all wrestlers, to graduation.
“The kids are always looking up to the older kids. We have a grassroots program in Port Alberni which is an elementary school program. Our senior kids come out, help coach and build some relationships and mentor them. And when our younger kids see those older kids, they begin to aspire to be like them.”
The top female championship bout was the 51-kg clash between Kiana Shew (South Islands Distance Education School) and Burnaby Mountain’s Marley Jackson, with Shew prevailing.
And the top male championship bout was in the 110-kg division with St. Thomas More Collegiate’s Sam Steele defeating Delview’s Chiragpreet Mattu.
Top 3 results:
40 kg: 1. Tanisha Johal (Burnaby Central); 2. Lakiesha Jacob (Lillooet).
43 kg: Toni Medeiros (Notre Dame); 2. Gina Bolognese (Burnaby North); 3. Ayesha Mian (St. Thomas More Collegiate)
47 kg: Zena Shew (South Islands Distance Education School); 2. Marley Jackson (Burnaby Mountain); 3.
Charlie Roberts (Q and A).
51 kg: 1. Kiana Shew (South Islands Distance Education School); 2. Ivy Threatful (Maple Ridge); 3. Madison Grof (Maple Ridge).
54 kg: 1. Marquesis Haintz (Maple Ridge); 2. Clara Scagione (St. Thomas More Collegiate); 3. Tyleen Scaiano (Lake City).
57 kg: 1. Victoria Seal (Mission); 2. Kaily Pattison (Kelly Road); 3. Ryann McCready (Riverside).
60 kg: 1. Kenna Wells-Flanders (Guildford Park); 2. Mikaela Trolland (W.J. Mouat); 3. Bridget Kent (Handsworth).
64 kg: 1. Jade Trolland (W.J. Mouat); 2. Stephanie Mould (Cowichan); 3. Gabriella Bellini (St. Thomas More Collegiate).
69 kg: 1. Paige Maher (Alberni District); 2. Kaitlyn Jinda (Carihi); 3. Teegan Maschke (Maple Ridge).
75 kg: 1. Mackenzie Boudreau (Alberni District); 2. Keisha Nagarr (Riverside); 3. Francesca DeCotiis (Notre Dame).
90 kg: 1. Haley Florell (Prince George); 2. Zenze Stanley (Kelly Road); 3. Willow Bayea (New Westminster).
110 kg: 1. Amanda Silveri (St. Thomas More Collegiate); 2. Emily Reid (Chemainus); 3. Jessica Wentzel (Elphinstone).
38 kg: 1. Evan McLeod (Alberni District); 2. Hayden Lazar (Shuswap Middle); 3. Rayen Rempel (Nechako Valley).
41 kg: 1. Jagvir Grewal (W.J. Mouat); 2. Kalub Scaiano (Lake City); 3. Ryan Torresan (Notre Dame).
45 kg: 1. Emmitt Giebrecht (Wellington); 2. Matt Drope (Elphinstone); 3. Bobby McKenzie (Alberni Valley).
48 kg: 1. Sehijvir Sandhu (Tamanawis); 2. Rohit Bal (Tamanawis); 3. Tyler Leung (Notre Dame).
51 kg: 1. Owen Martin (Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning); 2. Dylan Duggan (Burnaby Central); 3. Marques Calapiz (Notre Dame).
54 kg: 1. Talon Hird (Cowichan); 2. Elijah Lazar (Salmon Arm); 3. Armaan Dhillon (Enver Creek).
57 kg: 1. Parm Sidhu (D.W. Poppy); 2. Prabjhot Mander (Queen Elizabeth); 3. Humraj Sandher (Rick Hansen);
60 kg: 1. Gagan Grewal (Abbotsford Traditional); Jasdeep Dhillon (Abbotsford Traditional); 3. Dimitri Katsiamitas (Centennial).
63 kg: 1. Ehsan Hafizi (Guildford Park); 2. Ryan Hicks (Maple Ridge); 3. Seth Price (Alberni District).
66 kg: 1. Devin McCrae (Heritage Woods); 2. Rebi Hafizi (Guildford Park); 3. Owen Spencer (Alberni District).
70 kg: 1. Jovan Dhaliwal (McNair); 2. Joseph Hunter (Heritage Woods); 3. Anmol Liddher (Rick Hansen).
74 kg: 1. Cory Haberman (University Hill); 2. Armaan Malhi (Yale); 3. Chris Karsiamitas (Centennial).
78 kg: 1. Karanpreet Gill (Tamanawis); 2. Karmveer Rai (Panorama Ridge); 3. Jagvir Bains (Frank Hurt).
84 kg: 1. Summit Mann (Queen Elizabeth); 2. Gurek Dhesi (Guildford Park); 3. Hardit Garcha (Lord Tweedsmuir).
90 kg: 1. Baltej Mundi (Tamanawis);2. Jayce Clayton (Alberni District); 3. Scott Couthart (Alberni District).
110 kg: 1. Sam Steele (St. Thomas More Collegiate); 2. Chiragpreet Mattu (Delview); 3. Michael Evans (Terry Fox).
130 kg: 1. Harjind Grewal (Enver Creek); 2. Arjot Gill (Lord Tweedsmuir); 3. Daniel Dordevic (New Westminster).