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Wrestling & Rowing - St. Catharines' Olympic Hopes

© Mike Keenan


As a Lakeport S.S. and Brock University student-athlete, St. Catharines' Marty Calder won the CIAU and OUA Wrestling Championship in 1991-92. Joining the Brock team as a coach in 1994, he has been an integral part of the Badgers wrestling dynasty - 13 national crowns including a CIS record 10 consecutive men's titles (1998-2008) and 28 OUA Championships (16 men and 12 women).

The former two-time Olympian and Canadian University wrestling standout was at the podium recently at jam-packed Guernsey Market at Brock for a celebration of their six athletes and two coaches who are headed to Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, amidst cheers from hundreds of well-wishers, family members, friends and youngsters. Calder is Assistant coach of our women's wrestling team.

Brock alumnae rowers, Eric Woelfl, Tim Schrijver and coach, Terry Paul, another alumnus, had already left for Rio and Jasmine Mian (women's wrestling) was training in Calgary, but present were accomplished wrestlers Michelle Fazzari, another Brock alumnus, and wrestler Jillian Gallays, a Brock Wrestling Club member. Jessica Lewis, a fifth-year Brock student, in track racing in the Paralympics representing Bermuda, was also on hand.

The ladies have Calder's experience to help bolster their chances. On the international level, he coached three-time Olympic Medalist Tonya Verbeek from Grimsby, World Champion Jessica MacDonald, Olympians Evan MacDonald and Saeed Azarbayjani, Canadian Senior Champions Michelle Fazzari and Ryan Weicker and Canadian Junior Champions Nick Rowe and Liisa Wainman. Impressive qualifications for Calder, a two-sport athlete growing up playing lacrosse and wrestling. He resides in Thorold with his family. At Brock University, Jasmine Mian from Guelph won the CIS national title in 2011 and bronze medals at the World University Championships in 2010 and 2012. In Calgary in 2014, she won her first senior national title and made her UWW Senior World Championship debut. In 2014 she also won gold at the World University Championships and bronze at the Commonwealth Games. In 2015
she returned to the world championships, but competed up a weight class at 55 kg and posted a top-10 finish.

A Bronze Medalist at 2014 UWW World Championships Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Scotland, Jillian Gallays also was the 2014 champion at the Austrian Ladies Open. Prior to the 2015 Canadian Championships, she tore a knee ligament but fought her way back to contention and eligibility for Rio. Going undefeated at the 2016 Pan Am Olympic Qualifier proved that Gallays was able to compete with the best.

Michelle Fazzari from Caledonia, won her first national title in 2012, two years after undergoing shoulder surgery for a torn labrum and being told that she would be unable to compete at a high level again. Fazzari made her international debut in 2006 when she competed at both the junior and senior Pan American Championships, winning silver and bronze, respectively. At the Pan Am Championships in 2014, she captured the gold medal. Fazzari earned her first international victory at the 2007 Commonwealth Championships. In 2007, 2008 and 2012 she won gold at the CIS Championships while representing Brock University and competed at the 2008 World University Championships. Fazzari has competed at the World Championships, cracking the top-10 in 2012, 2014 and 2015. She made her Pan Am Games debut at Toronto in 2015, finishing seventh. Michelle was the training partner for three-time Olympic medalist Tonya Verbeek.


The team trained at Brock University with a select group of international training partners from Germany, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and the United States.

As for rowing, Eric Woelfl Won a gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. He got started in rowing at Governor Simcoe Secondary School.

Tim Schrijver captured gold with Woelfl at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto and another gold in the M8. He captured gold in the Under 23 World Rowing Championships, Varese and a bronze there in 2015.

Kristen Kit from St. Catharines got started in rowing at Sir Winston Churchill S.S. and the St. Catharines Rowing Club. She won gold at the 2016 World Cup, Poznan, bronze at the 2015 World Rowing Championships, Aiguebelette, and bronze at both the 2013 World Rowing Championships, Chungju and World Cup, Lucerne. She is most proud of winning a race at the Henley Royal Regatta when she was 18 representing the University of British Columbia. "It was the first race of the regatta and the tightest race I have coxed to date."

Matthew Buie at the St. Catharines Rowing Club, picked up both a gold and a bronze at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.


Natalie Mastracci at the St. Catharines Rowing Club, got her start at Denis Morris Secondary School. She has amassed many medals - silver at the 2016 Coupe Du Monde D'aviron, Varese and the 2015 Championnats Du Monde, Aiguebelette, gold at the 2014 Coupe Du Monde D'aviron, Lucerne, silver and bronze at the 2013 Championnats Du Monde, Chungju, gold and bronze at the 2013 Coupe Du Monde D'aviron, Lucerne, silver at the 2012 Olympic Games, London and several more!

Coach Terrence Paul competed in two consecutive Summer Olympics starting in 1988. At his second appearance he was the Coxswain of the team that won the gold medal in the Men's Eights. Terry had an extensive coaching career in the US College system at Cornell, and then internationally with Canada, Switzerland, and Canada again. Most recently, Terry was the coach of the Canadian Men's Pair of Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Terry coached the crew to an Olympic Silver Medal.

Jessica Lewis, ranked third in the world in the 100m T53 sprint, hopes to win her country's first Paralympic medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Lewis won a gold medal at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games and two months later won bronze in the same event at the Doha 2015 World Championships. This is her second Paralympic Games.

Canada & Olympic Rowing
Starting in 1977, Canadian women's crews initiated a series of medal wins, leading the western countries in the race for medals against the former communist regime countries. In 1984, Canada's men's eights finally won the Olympic gold in the eights when it beat the American eight by a scant deck. The men's eight won the gold in 1984 in Los Angeles, again in 1992 and 2008.

In the 1992 Olympic Games, the women, led by Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle won three gold medals and a bronze. These two women continued to win medals on the world scene during the rest of the decade to become Canada's most successful Olympic athletes. Teammate Silken Laumann, a world champion in the single sculls the year before, galvanized the country when she won a bronze medal despite a serious accident a scant ten weeks before the 1992 Olympic Games. A reported three million Canadians watched her final in the single sculls, televised live at three a.m. The men won the eights gold medal.

Canada & Olympic Wrestling
Canada's recent history in Olympic wrestling is quite impressive, with 10 of the country's 16 medals coming since Los Angeles, 1984. At Sydney in 2000, Daniel Igali became the first Canadian wrestler to win Olympic gold, taking the men's 69kg weight class. At Beijing 2008, Carol Huynh won Canada's second wrestling gold, but first by a woman, in the 48kg weight class. Huynh also won bronze at London 2012. Tonya Verbeek is Canada's most decorated wrestler, reaching the podium at three different Olympic Games. Verbeek won silver in the debut of women's wrestling at Athens 2004, bronze at Beijing 2008 and another silver at London 2012, all in the 55kg weight class.

At Rio 2016, Canada will field a large team of 315 athletes. Keep your eyes on Brock's wrestlers and rowers and Bermuda's sprinter.

 


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