Cochranite and University of Calgary Dinos wrestler Callum McNeice was named the Canada West Outstanding Male Wrestler of the Year on Feb. 10 following the 2018 Canada West Championship at the University of Alberta.
McNeice, the 2016 conference rookie of the year who captured the 72-kg gold medal, was also named the University of Calgary’s Male Athlete of the week due to his performance this past weekend.
The former St. Timothy High School alumnus, who is in his third year at the university, said the experience of winning gold at the Canada West Championships was a fantastic experience for him.
“It was awesome. Winning Canada West and being named most outstanding wrestler was pretty crazy … especially after seeing all the depth of the wrestlers there at the championship,” McNeice said.
“I had a guy in my weight class that was named the most outstanding in Canada West last year (Marcus Peterson from the University of Alberta) that I had never beaten before and I knew I would have to beat him in order to win. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates help, they got me physically and mentally ready to prepare for the weekend.”
“Overall, it was a great experience and was really neat knowing I was nominated by my peers as the University (of Calgary) Athlete of the Week.”
The Dinos took home three gold medals and 10 medals in total, but it wasn’t enough to take home the team awards, as both male and female honours went to the U of A. McNiece feels like the Dinos will be a force to be reckoned with for the next few years.
“We didn’t win a team banner but we have a younger, talented group that will peak in the next few years,” said McNiece.
“We’ve gone to four varsity tournaments so far this year and we’ve won three of the four and then placed second in the other one … the next few years should be really fun.”
Next up for McNeice is the USports National Championships, hosted by Algoma University Feb. 23 to 25 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where the Cochrane product has competed twice before, finishing fourth in both appearances.
Nationals are tough. Really, any of the five guys in my weight class could win … they’re all top contenders. My goal is to win, but like I said, anyone could win on any given day,” McNeice said.
“Having been to this tournament twice before, finishing where I did, I’d definitely like to do better this year.”
McNeice and his Dinos teammates will arrive in Ontario on Feb. 21, and have a day to prepare before the competition gets underway on Feb. 23.