With nine wrestlers competing, Concordia University will send an accomplished group to the U SPORTS championships at University of Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday.
On the men’s side, Concordia will have seven wrestlers spread out over the 10 weight classes. For this fairly young group, 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 Vincent De Marinis, a veteran wrestler who has won medals in each of his first three championships. He picked up a silver at 61 kilos as a rookie in 2014. He moved up a weight class in 2015 and settled for a bronze, but last year he won the gold medal at 65 kilos.
Watch for Dima Gershanov (72 kg) who won bronze medals in 2015 and again in 2016. This will be his third and final USPORTS championship, having used eligibility at University of Nebraska before heading north.
Also representing Concordia are second-year athlete Francis Carter (68 kg) and Chris Kinsella, a fifth-year veteran at 76 kilos. Both have previous national championship experience.
Three rookies round out the men’s side: Kyle Price (82 kg), Jeremy Poirier (90 kg) and heavyweight Frédérick Choquette.
Concordia finished tied in third place with University of Guelph in the men’s competition in 2016. 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 this year.
Jade Dufour, now in her second year with the Stingers, is a very accomplished young wrestler. The 20 year old has been on Canada’s junior women’s Pan-Am team and Canada’s junior women’s world team. She competed at junior worlds last September in Macon, France, finishing third out of 19 competitors at 48 kilos. She will compete at 51 kilos.
Finally, Genevieve Lamarche, a third-year wrestler, will represent Concordia in the 72-kilo weight class.
The Stingers finished in ninth place with 13 points in 2016.
The wrestling team is coached by Victor Zilberman who has run the Concordia program since 1977. He has guided his athletes to 68 gold medals and eight team titles at the nationals.
Since 1980, Concordia has won 146 medals.In addition, nine Concordia athletes have been named the outstanding wrestler at the national tournament, and Zilberman has been named Coach of the Year on five occasions – in 2012, 2011, 2006, 1986 and in 1984.