Around 90 wrestlers, ranging from under-7 newcomers to senior wrestlers who have a multitude of international experience, took to the mats at the QE2 Memorial Hall in Tauranga on Sunday to contest the Bay of Plenty Wrestling Championships.
Mount Maunganui head coach Mark Grayling, who organised the tournament, says "while a number of more experienced wrestlers were missing because of training commitments for the national championships later in the month, the multitude of youngsters at the championships banked plenty of experience on the day."
Senior New Zealand team member Caylen Greenwood, who is home from a gruelling tournament and training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, took centre stage at the Bay of Plenty titles. The Mount Maunganui club wrestler moved up a weight division to get competition and try out some of his newly learned techniques. He defeated fellow Mount team members Angus Ardain and Bailey Jackson to claim the gold medal in the 95kg class.
Another to impress was Tayla Ford, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She also made the trip to Canberra and was able to try out some new moves in defeating Ana Moceyawa and Esther Wolthers to take out the Senior Female 67kg division.
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Mount Maunganui senior wrestler Marshall Gibson showed that he will be hard to beat in the 125kg division at the nationals, to be held in Tauranga August 28-29, when he won the 130kg gold medal on Sunday.
Mount Maunganui wrestler Blair Bromwich impressed in taking out the gold medal in the 10-11 42kg class. The most impressive victory on the day was new Mount Maunganui recruit Wyatt McQuillin, who beat a more experienced Finbar O'Sullivan by a 10-point margin.
Suraj Singh from Katikati showed the benefit of three weeks' wrestling in the US this year, when he moved up a weight division to easily claim the gold medal.
The other Mount Maunganui wrestlers Grayling singled out for praise were Chanel Kavanagh and Ana Moceyawa, who got their first wins, Esther Wolthers and Ella Derry. Ty Kelly, 5, was too good for the field in the Under-7, 21kg class.