It was another statement performance by the Bhullar Wrestling Club at the recent B.C. High School Championships.
A record five members came away with medals from the club that trains out of the small gym located on the family’s Sidaway Road farm. It’s the same building where Arjan and Jag Bhullar were developed into national champions.
Today the cousins are among the volunteer coaches working with young members that only pay insurance fees for the instruction. Talks continue with the city to find a bigger home to accommodate more athletes with all classes currently full.
Leading this year’s medalists was Toni Medeiros who closed out her high school career with a gold medal in the 43-kg class. A year ago, the Notre Dame student bravely earned silver while competing with a broken rib. This time she saved her best for last.
“Going into provincials, Toni hadn’t won a tournament but should could have won every single match she was in,” said Jag. “Then she gets to BC’s and beats every girls by 10 points or more.”
The dominating performance concluded with a pin in less than two minutes in the gold medal match. Medeiros will close out her career at the upcoming nationals in New Brunswick. The plan moving forward is to leave behind her career to focus on her university studies.
Marques Calapiz was the defending provincial champion in the 48-kg weight class. However, the Grade 11 student moved up to 51-kg and showed tremendous resolve to earn a bronze medal.
“He lost to a guy he had never beaten before in the final seconds. He had every reason to quit and give up at that point. Instead he led the team like a champion he truly is. He pinned a guy to win his semi-final match then beat the next guy in 30 seconds to win bronze,” said Jag.
Calapiz is also looking forward to nationals and returning to the same weight category next season.
“I’m very comfortable at this (new) weight class. Coming off last season, the expectations were high,” said Calapiz. “I’m still proud of my result and there is always something to work on. It’s time to re-set and get better.”
Tyler Leung initially took up wrestling to compliment his football career. Now the Grade 10 student is a provincial bronze medalist after battling his way back from an opening round loss. The podium finish was highlighted by a dramatic semi-final win that saw Leung throw his opponent to score four-points in the final 10 seconds.
“I realized it is such a great sport, teaching me about mental toughness and how to keep in shape. This year I came here and found out what a great atmosphere it is. Coach Jag has taught me so much,” said Leung. “I just love all the technique and toughness he has brought into my life.”
Brooklyn Prasad is another up-and-coming talent with the club. She finished fourth in the 47-kg class with two more years of eligibility remaining. She was also fourth at 43-kg in 2018.
“Brooklyn wrestled better at provincials than I have seen her all year,” said Jag. “Every time I see her compete she only gets better. She has a bright future,”
Jaren Bhullar is only realizing his potential as a wrestler. The McRoberts student finished sixth in his first high school provincials at the 51-kg class and is destined to move up to heavier divisions as he fills out his frame.
“I didn’t take him to BC’s last year because he just wasn’t taking wrestling seriously enough,” recalled Jag. “When he did, suddenly he was second at the (2018) BC Summer Games and gets a medal in probably the hardest weight class at the provincials.”