Ana Godinez Gonzalez turned in a breakthrough performance at the Canadian Wrestling Championships in Saskatoon on the weekend, highlighting a series of strong results for University of the Fraser Valley wrestlers.
Godinez Gonzalez swept to victory in both the junior and senior 62 kg freestyle brackets at nationals – an incredible accomplishment. In addition to her twin gold medals, she was voted the outstanding female wrestler of the senior tournament.
Heady stuff for the 19-year-old UFV sophomore.
Godinez Gonzalez, who was named the outstanding female wrestler at the recent U SPORTS championships, dominated the junior competition at the Wrestling Canada Lutte event, winning both of her matches by technical superiority.
She faced a tougher road in the senior draw – she opened with a 15-6 quarter-final win over Braxton Padadopoulos of Team Impact Wrestling Club (Pickering, Ont.), and followed with an 11-1 tech-fall triumph over Linda Morais of the Montreal Wrestling Club in the semis.
That set up a clash with Jessica Brouillette of the Brock Wrestling Club in the finals. Brouillette had won both prior meetings with Godinez Gonzalez – in the 2018 U SPORTS finals, and at the SFU Clan International last November.
Godinez Gonzalez built a 6-0 lead early, but Brouillette battled back to take an 8-6 lead. But the Surrey, B.C. grappler dominated from there, taking a 14-8 decision.
“I remember the moment it was 6-6, and it was exactly what happened last time (vs. Brouillette at SFU) – I was up 6-0, and she came back and actually won,” said Godinez Gonzalez, who attended the national tourneys as a member of the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club. “But my training had been so much better – I wasn’t tired or anything. I realized it was just conditioning and the mental game.
“I wasn’t thinking about winning – I was just thinking about the process. I remember actually having fun wrestling, even though I was losing. I knew I could come back. Right after the whistle at 8-6, I took her down again, and kept taking her down.”
Godinez Gonzalez, now Canada’s top-ranked wrestler at 62 kg, hopes to
represent Canada at the junior and senior World Championships later this
year, but her citizenship still needs to be ironed out. She originally
hails from Aguascalientes, Mexico, and moved to South Surrey with her
family nine years ago. She applied for Canadian citizenship last summer,
but it has yet to come through, and she’s hopeful that Wrestling Canada
can help her get it fast-tracked.
Brad Hildenbrandt, the Cascades’ three-time U SPORTS heavyweight champ, also turned in a career-best performance in Saskatoon, winning silver in the men’s 125 kg division. The fourth-year Cascade defeated Saskatoon’s Jacob Phillips 10-0 in the quarter-finals, and upended longtime nemesis Sean Molle of Burnaby Mountain WC 3-1 in the semis.
Hildenbrandt took on Korey Jarvis in the final, who has dominated the heavyweight division with national titles every year since 2013, and dropped an 8-0 decision.
UFV’s Amber Wiebe finished just off the podium in the women’s 53 kg. She posted a 1-2 record, with both of her losses coming to Jade Parsons of the Brock WC – in her opener, and in the bronze medal match.
Karla Godinez Gonzalez, Ana’s older sister, finished sixth in the women’s 57 kg, dropping a 5-4 decision to Calgary’s Amy Bellavia in the fifth/sixth placing match.
In the junior competition, two Cascades – in addition to Godinez Gonzalez – brought home medals. Karan Dhillon took silver in the men’s 86 kg weight class, and Sunny Benning won bronze at 92 kg. Amarvir Atwal was sixth in the men’s 74 kg, and Calista Espinosa posted a 1-2 record in the women’s 50 kg.