C/O McMaster Sports
Marauders claim victory at recent wrestling invitationals and look to repeat the wins
As of Nov. 22, both McMaster’s men's and women's wrestling teams found themselves placing seventh in the country according to U Sports rankings. While this was many months ago, the Marauders have been doing well in both invitationals and opens, with the men’s team placing first at the Brock Open on Feb. 26 and the women’s team placing second at the Western Open on March 20.
Both teams hope to repeat their wins and bring home the championship title in the Ontario University Athletics championships on April 2, hosted by Brock University. If the teams are successful, this will end Brock’s five-year championship win streak. The last time a team other than the Brock University Badgers was victorious in winning the championship was in 2015, when they fell to the Marauders.
Peter Shirley, a fourth-year wrestler now preparing for the OUAs, has impressed many so far this season. He was able to earn first place in his weight class at the Western Invitational and third at the Brock Open.
“Personally, everything that's kind of happened up to this point doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter that I placed at Brock, it doesn't matter that I placed in any other tournament. OUA is a distinct beast and we just have to show up, be ready for a fight and perform,” said Shirley.
McMaster’s wrestling program fosters this kind of success for the following reasons: innovative coaching, a healthy support system and a positive atmosphere. Another prime example of this strong team culture is Vanessa Fonrose, a second-year wrestler who earned silver at the Brock Open.
“The first thing that came to mind is having a good training partner that understands you. And then the second one was having good coach in your corner,” explained Fonrose.
McMaster’s wrestling head coach, an alumnus McMaster wrestler, is Ahmed Shamiya. While on the men’s team Shamiya was a five-time OUA and four-time national medalist. In addition, Shamiya was men’s coach of the year at the 2020 OUA Championships.
“I don't think any other school wrestles like us because he's bringing kind of the new age wrestling into not only just our team, but into Canada and helping spread that. He really tries to build the sport and to touch on the team culture — it's amazing,” said Shirley.
Something unique about Shamiya’s coaching style is that both the men’s and women’s teams train and wrestle together. This creates great cohesion between the two groups to the point that they’re practically one team themselves.
“I think [what’s] also pretty cool about our team is that we don't have [a] distinct men's team [or a] distinct women's team. We’re in the trenches right together. I think that's one thing that separates us from any other team on this campus,” explained Shirley.
With the team dynamic and incredible amount of work the team puts in with six practices a week for the past six months, the 2022 OUAs are looking good for the Marauders. The team extends their thanks to their support system including coaching staff, trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, student field therapists and more, without whom the team would not be whole.
“Shoutout to the team,” said Fonrose.