last article written about the Kahnawake Survival School wrestling
team had the same headline as today's. The big difference between
the two is the fact that the former banner had a question mark at
the end of it. This one has an exclamation point.
Thursday, February 12, a date many of the KSS wrestlers, coaches
and fans will have lodged in their heads for years to come, saw
the 2003-04 edition of the storied KSS squads win an unprecedented
15th consecutive Greater Montreal Athletic Association (GMAA) team
KSS head coach David Canadian a happy camper? Was he nervous before
the prestigious event and prior to the official announcement of
the final team standings by emcee Bill "Circus E. Maximus"
Anderson at the end of the meet?
answer to all the above questions is spelled, y-e-s,
a huge exclamation point. "Winning our 15th team title in a
row feels real good," said Canadian, humbly understating things
a tad. "We've added another page in KSS history and we managed
to do it with one of, if not the smallest contingent of wrestlers
in 15 years."
started with 40 potential team members at the onset of the year
but by the time the season started, ended up with only 20, giving
proof to the adage that it's quality, not quantity that counts most.
to the fact that Canadian was so busy running around getting his
charges prepped and ready for their bouts, he was unaware of the
team point standings, and at the end of the meet Loyola's coach
told the KSS mentor, his (Loyola) team had nipped out the Survival
School for the title.
son-of-a-gun was obviously pulling my leg, but I have to be honest,
it threw a scare into me because I didn't have time to keep track
of what was going on in the points standings," Canadian admitted.
it turned out, KSS pummelled second-place Loyola and nearly doubled
its point total, 120-69. In fact, Loyola narrowly edged out Pierrefonds
Comprehensive for the runnerup spot. The latter school finished
in third place with 63 points.
year we set sail in October, but this October was different because
a number of key wrestlers for one reason or another decided not
to join or stay with the team. Earlier in the year, when things
looked bleak for us to continue our winning tradition, we had a
team meeting and all the members of this season's squad were determined
to stick it out and do their level best to win it all again in 2003-04.
And as it turned out, they did. I'm extremely proud of all our wrestlers,
not just for winning a 15th (GMAA) team title but for all their
hard work and gutsy determination. All year long, there was never
any quit in them."
who is the winningest coach in GMAA sports history, was also ecstatic
to see a busload of yesteryear KSS wrestlers on hand at the historic
was great to see past wrestlers at this history-making event,"
he stated emphatically. "It meant the world to members of our
current team to have them in the stands cheering this year's contingent
on to victory."
didn't see a crowd of past wrestlers like this all year," added
KSS assistant coach Peter Montour. "The kids literally had
goose-bumps when they saw all the old KSS wrestlers among the spectators."
things off for KSS in the gold medal matches was 87-lb. mighty mite
Trevor Paul, who made it to the top of the podium after making short
work of Luigi Insolaco of Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School.
Asked if he felt any pressure being the first KSS wrestler to fight
for gold, he shrugged it off like a seasoned professional.
at all," said Paul, adding a huge exclamation point at the
end of his three-word response before continuing to say, "I've
been the first (KSS) wrestler on the mat the past three years, so
I'm used to it. And winning three years in a row, I can tell you,
makes me very happy."
win was contagious because it inspired a host of other KSS wrestlers
who were about to follow his lead.
after Paul's gold medal victory, Ronwhahawison Phillips demolished
Loyola's Hayden Thomassin in the 95-lb. division. In the next battle
at 103 lbs., it was an all-KSS affair between Devin Kirby and Kahion
Montour with Kirby taking the gold medal and Montour winning the
silver. Making it five in a row for KSS, Atenonhiatase Phillips
won his gold-medal match in the 111-lb. division against Loyola's
Gordon Snell while Rani Jacobs-Lahache despite suffering from a
sore shoulder, beat Pierrefonds' Dean Raymond in the 119-lb. category.
shoulder was really bothering me midway through the match,"
said Jacobs-Lahache, sporting an ice-pack after the bout. "But
I had to do my best to put it out of my mind. Although I'd beaten
him twice before, Dean's a tough opponent and I really had to remain
another all-KSS final, Kyle Paul and Brandon Stalk put on the show
of the night. In an extremely close match in the 132-lb. category,
Paul eked out the gold medal with a one-point margin of victory
in overtime. Stalk, younger and lighter than Paul, wrestled the
match of his life to earn the silver. Many pundits at ringside said
his gutsy performance was "as good as gold".
the match Paul admitted he wasn't too thrilled about fighting a
member of his own team and would have rather won his GMAA championship
battling a wrestler from an opposing school.
anyway," he said with a smile. "I'll take the win."
legend Bobby Orr once said you learn more from losing than you do
from winning. Kyle Bourdeau found that out at the championship meet.
Ahead on points by a large margin in his 153-lb. match against Bialik's
Joshua Berkowicz, Bourdeau decided to pull out all the stops and
beat his opponent with a pin. Instead, Berkowicz reversed the move
and pinned Bourdeau. The KSS wrestler settled for the silver medal,
and learned a valuable lesson in throwing caution to the wind. And
take this to the bank. He's adamant it won't happen again in any
future bouts. However, in Bourdeau's defense, coach Canadian claims
it was "a very quick count".
my opinion, the ref slapped the mat far too soon," he said
and added, "When KSS wrestlers pin a man, it seems like they
have to put a grand piano on the guy before the refs slap the mat."
KSS wrestler who wasn't overly pleased to have finished out of the
top spot, was bronze medallist Sheldon Pinsonneault. Standing on
the sidelines watching the gold medal match, he looked as if he'd
just lost his lifelong beau. And with good reason.
this year in regular-season meets, he'd beaten both GMAA gold medallist
Michael Noonan of Loyola and silver medallist Shawn Errunza of Selwyn
House. "I'll be back next year," he adamantly stated (with
an exclamation point).
the 163-lb. bout, Kerry Goodleaf told The Eastern Door he was primed
and ready for his gold-medal match with John Rennie's Piotr Staniszewski.
wrestled him before," he said. "I know what I have to
do (to win)." Goodleaf was not whistling dixie. Sticking to
his fight plan to the letter, he literally destroyed his opponent
en route to the championship victory.
anchorman Clayton Rice iced the proverbial cake by outlasting Loyola's
Kyle Gregory 3-2 on points in the heavyweight division to win the
last KSS gold medal of the day. According to Rice, it wasn't one
of his easier matches. In fact, quite the opposite.
been wrestling Kyle since I was a rookie and I've always managed
to beat him," said Rice. "Today, I was out to prove a
point. It was one of the toughest matches I've had this year and
it was nice to finish on top
stellar performance for KSS was Cheyanne McComber's gold-medal victory.
In a no-points exhibition match against Pierrefonds Comprehensive's
Katie Pitts, McComber pinned her opponent.
unfortunate turn of events kept KSS's Hoten Moses from competing
for an individual championship in the 145-lb. division. At the meet's
weigh-in the previous Wednesday, Moses was banned from competition
due to a viral rash on his back.
it's a wrap. In front of a large hometown crowd, "Dave's lean,
mean KSS wrestling machine" not only got the job done once
again, the class of 2003-04 has paved the road for next year's crop
to continue its uninterrupted 15-year winning tradition. Adding
16 GMAA team titles to its credit in '04-05 will truly create more
pages in the school's history-in-the-making.
you can emphasize that with a humungous exclamation point!