McMaster wrestling fine tune in form in the coming season
The Marauders wrestling team have their sights set on knocking out big name teams and capturing a prized gold again in the season to come
Last year’s wrestling season saw the McMaster University wrestling team compete at the highest level, as they took themselves to the USports championships in Edmonton. They dominated the Ontario University Athletics championship, with both the men’s and women’ teams finishing second on the podium, giving them the opportunity to compete at the national level.
The U Sports competition last year saw the team take big strides, with the men’s team earning themselves a silver medal and the women’s team picking up a bronze. Across the two teams, Karanveer Mahil won himself an individual gold medal on the men’s side. While rookie of the Year Serena Di Benedetto picked up a silver medal on the women’s side.
With these two wrestlers entering their second season of competition, the team looks to improve even further and win more this upcoming season.
“A really big goal for me this year is to return to winning OUAs and also to finally take the U Sports gold home,” said Di Benedetto.
The addition of strong first-year wrestlers to the roster, including Mayumi King who was previously an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations champion, adds great depth to the team. This seems to increase the team's confidence in their ability to succeed and claim a gold medal at this year’s OUA championship.
“I think we have a really good team this year. . .We have a lot of really good rookies coming in and they’re super technical and fit in well,” said Di Benedetto.
After securing the Rookie of the Year award in her last season, it may seem that Di Benedetto would struggle to continue such a dominant run of form; as other teams may have learned her weaknesses and put a target on her back. However, she finds that a strong mentality and her enjoyment of continuously improving will help this coming season.
“I find that I have to maintain what I did last year, but at the same time, I’m here to have fun and enjoy wrestling for McMaster. I don’t get too caught up in the placings, because at the end of the day, I’m just trying to get better,” said Di Benedetto.
She will hope to help lead the women’s side to greater heights this year, specifically in the OUA championship hosted in February. The team will look to knock out Brock University Badgers, who were last year’s gold medalists at the competition.
“Team wise, I really want us to knock Brock off of first place. We were really close last year... The girls’ team came second by one point and Brock has been the remaining OUA champion for a while,” said Di Benedetto.
On the men’s side, Mahil returns along with senior Howard Moffatt. Both wrestlers had great seasons, with Moffatt placing first in the OUA championships. They will return with the addition of five first-year wrestlers on the men’s roster.
The Marauders will compete in seven competitions before this year’s OUA Championship. Led by the head coach Ahmed Shamiya, both teams will hope for an even better season than the last.