High School

Bishop Ryan wrestling Open draws high level of competition

They’ve been holding wrestling tournaments at Bishop Ryan Catholic high school for 44 years, but veteran Celtics wrestling coach John Di Benedetto says this year’s event was different.

“This is the toughest Bishop Ryan Open tournament we’ve ever hosted,” Di Benedetto said.

(Photo: Gerry Graham/HWCDSB)

A co-organizer of the competition along with Celtics head coach Sheldon Francis, Di Benedetto said about 320 wrestlers – males and females – were involved in action on the mats. Forty of those participants came from Alberta, with other delegations from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Quebec (15 from Montreal).

Ontario free-style wrestlers came from as far north as Thunder Bay and Barrie. And, of course, entrants from the Golden Horseshoe also took part.

“We had close to 100 out-of-province entries,” Di Benedetto said. “It has sky-rocketed this year. We’ve never had that many.”

According to the Celtics assistant coach, there is a reason for the visitors’ interest in coming to Hamilton for wrestling.

“This is a Canada Summer Games year,” Di Benedetto said. “A lot of the other provinces, outside of Ontario, are using the BR tournament as an athlete’s identification tournament for upcoming trials in April.”

That means the level of competition at the 2016 BR Open was extremely high. Said Di Benedetto: “We have a lot of national-level athletes here. And a lot of club athletes. It’s made it very difficult for Ontario high school teams.”

Martin Wleh, of Bishop Ryan, found that out when he went up against Connor McNeice of Calgary’s Cochrane Cowboys Wrestling Club in the 67.5kg final. McNeice has won four consecutive Canadian cadet and juvenile championships. In addition, he has been to three world championships and a Pan Am championship in Mexico City.

Against Wleh, who captured a bronze medal at the most recent OFSAA tournament, McNeice won by way of a pin after just 57 seconds.

“I personally thought I was on top of my game,” Wleh said. “Sadly, it wasn’t good enough. I’ve got to keep working. There’s a reason he’s gotten to where he is. He’s very strong and very smart. When he goes in on a move he doesn’t go in half way. He goes in all the way and finishes. That’s something I also have to work on.”

Wleh is still confident he can achieve good results en route to the high school provincial championships in a few months.

“I’m looking forward to upping my game, especially my stamina and being smart,” he said.

Although Di Benedetto calls Wleh’s style somewhat “unorthodox”, the Grade 12 student says it’s because of his flexibility. “I have different ways of getting out of things … even ways that (coaches) don’t think of,” Wleh said.



1. Ethan Cabral, Bishop Ryan
2. Mikhaiel Barnes, Heart Lake

1. Brody Gordon, Bishop Ryan
2. Jordan Brown, Heart Lake

1. Trevor Silverthorne, Dunnville
2. Mateo Valles, Pickering HS
3 Dip Lad, West Humber
4. Matteo Rendina, Bishop Ryan

1. Gabriel Sementilli, L’Essor
2. Riley Icton, Saskatchewan
3. Jacob Ascencio, Bishop Ryan
4. Reet Chahil, Beamsville

1. Mateo Anisi, Pickering HS
2. Nolan O’Rourke, Island Academy
3. Jason Luneau, Montreal
4. Isaac LeBlanc, Team NB

1. Nicolae Gandrabura, Montreal
2. Mike Zale, Lakehead
3. Francesco Fortino, Bishop Ryan
4. Eamonn Dudley-Chubbs, Highland

1. Pat Leder, Xavier
2. Ben Tanton, Island Academy
3. Alex Cormier, Team NB
4. Adriano Di Benedetto, Bishop Ryan

1. William D’Alessandro, Bishop Ryan
2. Marco Cormier, Team NB
3. Brendan McKeage, Team Alberta
4. Phillip Truong, Beamsville

1. Jack McDougal, Team Alberta
2. Tony Laramie, Essex
3. Natael Lebrun Cantin, Montreal
4. Connor Quinton, HC

1. Connor McNeice, Team Alberta
2. Martin Wleh, Bishop Ryan
3. Garrett Sales, Delhi
4. Micheal Sanchez, Essex

1. Alex Richer, Lakehead
2. Jaskaran Singh, Montreal
3. Raheem Rahamatulla, Battle Arts
4. Evan Hopkins, Nova Scotia

1. Adam Scott Neil, McNeil
2. Aaron Orszak, Montreal
3. Carson Lee, Saskatchewan
4. Hunter Smith, Team Alberta

1. Julien Choquette, Montreal
2. Dante Daluca, Essex
3. Jalen Kato, Pickering
4. Connor Pointen, Team Alberta

1. Hunter Lee, Saskatchewan
2. Conner Tenn, Xavier
3. Justin Shannon, Team NB
4. Jonathan Campagnolo, Montreal

1. Kyle Jordon Neil, McNeil
2. Noah Daley, Island Academy
3. Brody Fall, Team NB
4. Kyle Steeves, Schewa

1. Lynden Testawich, Team Alberta
2. Chris O’Toole, Team NB
3. Jeremy Badgley, Thorold
4. Reid Jonas, Meadowvale


1. Anna Skinner, Barrie North
2. Chiara Decena-Barbieri, Xavier
3. Juhsena Redha, Bishop Ryan

1. Olivia Martinez, Bishop Ryan
2. Isabelle Kaulback, Nova Scotia
3. Hannah Carroll, Bear Creek

1. Kaelan Findlay, Alberta
2. Tiana Bryant, Alberta
3. Xana Beran, Alberta
4. Nicole Mayer, Brebeuf

1. Samantha Romano, Pickering
2 Jayden Sparks, Cobourg
3. Jaylin Reyes, Junior Badgers
4. Jade Wilkie, Highland

1. Tawes Messaoudini, Alberta
2. Lily Reddon, Alberta
3. Melissa Fryer, Alberta
4. Erin Rainville, Patriotes

1. Emma Parker, Saskatchewan
2. Melina Ioannides, Alberta
3. Kaya Dube Snow, Montreal
4. Ciera Beltrano, Cathedral

1. Makayla Levy, Nova Scotia
2. Yvonne Rheume, Alberta
3. Nyla Burgess, Pickering
4. Bianca King, Xavier

1. Megan Findelet, Alberta
2. Berit Johnson, Saskatchewan
3. Ellise Daynes, Bishop Ryan
4. Jasmine Thebeau, Team NB

1. Alexandria Campbell, Montreal
2. Sandra Bay, Brebeuf
3. Rachel Remesz, Alberta
4. Maddy Whalen, Team NB

1. Dejeh Slater, Pickering
2. Hannah Hubley, Nova Scotia
3. Alexia Sherland, Montreal
4. Cassie Fisher, Alberta

1. Sydney Lewis, Lakehead
2. Jessica Rabet, Schewa
3. Tara Beckett, Blessed Trinity
4. Latavia Smellie, Xavier

1. Elinor Brown, Bishop Ryan
2. Gracie Groux, Beamsville
3. C.C. Camber, Joan of Arc
4. Kathleen Lampman, Blessed Trinity

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