With eight wrestlers competing, Concordia University will send an accomplished group to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. on Friday and Saturday.
On the men’s side, Concordia will have six wrestlers spread out over the 10 weight classes. It will be difficult to pick up enough points to challenge for the overall title, but there should be several strong individual performances.
Leading the way will be Jordan Steen, a veteran wrestler who returns to university competition after taking a year off. As a rookie in 2013 he won a gold medal at 90 kilos. He followed it up with a bronze medal the following year.
This will be the fifth CIS championship for veteran Trevor Banks. After fifth-place finishes at 54 kilos in 2013 and 2014, he brought home a silver medal last year.
Also watch for third-year man Vince De Marinis at 65 kilos. He won a silver medal at 61 kilos in his rookie debut and last year he was a bronze medallist.
Dima Gershanov (72 kg) won a bronze medal in his CIS debut last year.
Rounding out the team are a couple of rookies - Francis Carter (68 kg) and Petr Prokopiev (84 kg).
Concordia finished ninth out of 16 teams in the men’s competition in 2015. The Stingers won the team championship in 2011 and 2012 bringing the total to eight titles for Concordia since 1984.
On the women’s side, Concordia will have two competitors. Linda Morais (63 kg) is back with the Stingers after a year off. It will be her fourth appearance at the championships. She is one of Concordia’s most decorated wrestlers at nationals with two gold medals (2012, 2014) and a bronze (2013).
The final representative on the women’s side is newcomer Jade Dufour (51 kg).
The wrestling team is coached by Victor Zilberman who has run the Concordia program since 1977. He has guided his athletes to 66 gold medals and eight team titles at the nationals. Since 1980, Concordia has won 141 medals.
In addition nine Concordia athletes have been named the outstanding wrestler at the CIS tournament, and Zilberman has been named Coach of the Year on five occasions - in 2012, 2011, 2006, 1986 and in 1984.