The 2013 season is underway and the McMaster Marauders wrestling team has hit the ground running, but not without some challenges. Coming off a successful season where the men’s and women’s team placed sixth and 11th respectively at the CIS Championships, the stakes are high for the Marauder team this year.
When asked about what the team aspires to this season, head coach Chris Fraser said, “Last year with the guys we were one or two points out of first, so obviously we would like to win the OUA’s this year. The CIS is what we’re really looking at; it’s more of a measuring stick. With the girls we placed eleventh and as a women’s coach I would like to see us climb that ladder.”
The season started with two tournaments on the weekend of Nov. 2, with some team members wrestling at home at the McMaster Invitational tournament, while others headed to Surrey, B.C. for the Simon Fraser Invitational.
It was a rough start, however, at Simon Fraser, as the team experienced some major setbacks at the tournament.
“Some of the athletes were at SFU to get some tougher competition and face different opponents. That tournament is a tough one though; when some of our guys came back they were injured,” said the head coach.
Following those two invitational events, the team headed to London, Ont. the weekend of Nov. 16, to wrestle at the Western duals. Results were much better this time around, as two members of the men’s team took first place.
One of them was the 2011 CIS Rookie of the Year, Jason Buckle. Buckle is a member of Team Canada and is the Mac’s top contender for a gold medal at the CIS Championships. He has high hopes for the season and has confidence that the team’s future is bright.
As for his goals for the season, Buckle said: “Hopefully we do well as a team; we have some younger guys since a lot of our older guys graduated the last two years. We want to do as well as we can at the national level.”
Fraser echoed Buckle’s sentiment when looking at the team’s performance. “We want to get more of our athletes at the next level so that they get the opportunity to compete internationally,” Fraser said.
A successful season will only help the chances of being noticed by Team Canada.
The season continued the weekend of Nov. 23 with the Provincial Senior Championships in Sudbury, Ont. where Jason Buckle and Nicole Roach both won their respective categories.
Next up on the calendar is the last event of 2013, which will be held at York University on Nov 30. Competitions then restart in 2014 and end with the OUA Championships being held in February, followed by the CIS Championship in March.
As the season progresses, the team is relying on a successful conclusion to the year in order to gather momentum heading into the OUA and CIS Championships.
With a roster that combines experienced wrestlers with promising prospects, the season is sure to be an exciting one for the Marauders.