The Algoma Thunderbirds wrestling team competed at the OUA Wrestling Championships in Hamilton, Ontario, hosted by the McMaster Marauders on February 11th. Earl McKinney and Aksel Pollari were the top finishers for the Thunderbirds.
The Algoma men’s team finished out the tournament in seventh place, ahead of Queen’s University, Laurentian University, and Ryerson University.
“The goal of the Thunderbird’s was to place top six as a team,” said Head Coach Trevor Manchester. “Although we were one spot away from our intended placing, there were still a lot of positives, especially when considering we were missing two wrestlers. Next season will be a year where we will look to really take the OUA by surprise, and with the young team in development, we will have the wrestlers at Algoma to do it.”
First year wrestler Earl McKinney, from Augusta, GA, earned fourth place in the men’s 65-kilogram division. McKinnney lost the bronze medal match by pin to Lauchlin MacDonald of Western University. McKinney went 3-2 on the mats. He notched two wins by technical fall to Luka Suivac of Ryerson University and Jaber Husiny of The University of Guelph and another by pin to Jayden Murray of Lakehead University. His first loss by technical fall came at the hands of Erik Joy of McMaster University.
“Earl had an outstanding performance at the OUA Championships. Placing fourth as a rookie is a tremendous achievement. All three of his wins were accomplished in dominating fashion, while his losses were to older, more experienced wrestlers. Earl showed that he will be a wrestler to watch for in the next few years in the OUA, and helped Algoma cap off their season with a respectable seventh place team finish.”
First year Echo Bay-born Aksel Pollari also earned fourth place. Pollari lost his bronze medal match in the men’s 61-kilogram weight class by technical fall to Kevin Leatherdale of Lakehead. Pollari went 1-2 on the mats, earning his win against Will Anderson of Ryerson University by technical fall.
“As a young wrestler that hadn’t been on the mat in over four years, Aksel was able to get back into the sport quickly this year. His work ethic and cardio is second to none, and it showed in his progress. Aksel was able to have a great showing at the OUA Championships by playing to his strengths on the mats and using his workhorse attitude to surprise a tough Ryerson opponent. In his bronze medal match, lack of experience was the biggest challenge.”
Bryce Davis, from Fenton, Michigan earned fifth place in the men’s 72-kilogram. Davis went 3-2 on the mats, with wins over Colin Dempsey (Guelph), Mark Brousseau (Lakehead), and Michael Fisher (Queen’s).
“As a January transfer student to Algoma, Bryce’s fifth place finish was a great success. The coaching staff had high hopes for a top three finish from this young first year Michigan native, but are confident that he will medal in the next four seasons that he is with the Thunderbird’s. Bryce is an experienced wrestler whose ground attack can change the outcome of any match, but his lack of mat time this season showed in his post-match recovery, and will be something that is addressed and corrected for next season.”
For complete results of the OUA Wrestling Championships.
Source: Algoma U Athletics