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In light of the recent suspension of many major tournaments such as the U Sports volleyball championships, we can reflect on one of the successful tournaments that took place from Feb. 21 to 22. 

At the 2020 U Sports wrestling championship, we saw a few familiar faces break onto the podium. From the men’s team, the trio of Connor Quinton in the 68 kg weight class, Ben Zahra in the 76 kg category and Ameen Aghamirian in the 82 kg class each found themselves wearing silver medals when it was all said and done. Francesco Fortino in the 57 kg class got his hands on a bronze medal. This was considered an all-around success for the McMaster team and marks Zahra’s second year in a row getting silver at the highly competitive tournament.

Zahra, one of the three silver medal recipients and athlete of the week, shared his thoughts on the team's performance at the U-Sports championship. He was happy with how the team finished. 

Benjamin Zahra - Wrestling

Benjamin Zahra

“I thought everyone’s performance at U Sports was very impressive,” said Zahra. “We had a lot of close wins, and it seemed like whenever a teammate of mine was a close match, they managed to come out on top.” 

Although Zahra was happy for the success of the team, he wishes he had placed higher. Going into the tournament, he had kept the gold in his sights. Even though he fell just short of his goal, medaling in this major tournament is a big success—and Zahra knows it. 

“Medaling at the U Sports Championships gave me a lot of confidence in my training and reaffirmed all the hard work I put in throughout the season,” Zahra said. “Although it wasn’t the medal I wanted, I am still proud of the effort and tenacity I brought into the competition and look forward to bringing those aspects of my wrestling into the Canadian Championships.”

A silver medal is a great accomplishment for any school team. To have been able to bring home three, like our men’s team did, is a significant success. U Sports silver medalist Quinton also spoke about the value that the team’s performance could have had in preparation for the Canadian Championships.

“I think U Sports taught our team a lot of valuable lessons that we’ve been able to look back on over the last week and it’ll be a great learning experience for all of us moving forward. The team is looking really good heading into the next part of our season, and I think we’ve got a lot of guys that are ready to take the next step to the international level after making some tweaks and preparing hard for our upcoming tournaments,” said Quinton.

Quinton spoke glowingly about how the wrestling program has not only allowed him to become a better wrestler but also greatly contributed to his growth as a person. 

“As I come to the end of my third year, I think I have matured a lot in terms of my wrestling as well as my character,” said Quinton. “I think being a part of the McMaster program has been extremely helpful in my development. I’ve learned so many techniques and tactics that I’ve been able to use in my wrestling that have been key to my progress. The team and coaches have also put lots of focus on growing off the mats and have taught us to strive to be great people all the time.”

Unfortunately, due to the spread of the coronavirus, Wrestling Canada Lutte has postponed the U17 and U19 Canadian Championships, as well as the Junior and Senior Canadian Championships. This was a big event that wrestlers from around the country were looking to compete in. However, decisions such as this are necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus.  

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