OFSAA Championships for RND Wrestling
The finish, however, was pure gold.
Cleopas Ncube of Regiopolis Notre Dame overcame an early five-point deficit to defeat top-seeded Chris Prickett of Guelph's Central Wellington in the 61-kilogram final at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations wrestling championships in Thunder Bay on Saturday.
"A lot of people were saying it was the best final match of the tournament," said Ernestown coach Neil Hopkins.
Ncube, the No. 3 seed, won the final 10-8 after finding himself in a 5-0 hole just a minute into the match.
"Something just clicked," the Grade 12 student said after realizing he was so far behind. "I thought 'you can't hold anything back.' After that I came out harder than ever before."
Before the match, while Ncube was practising counter-attacking the moves he expected Prickett to use, Regi coach Marcus Niemann spotted Prickett watching Ncube.
"[Prickett] readjusted," said Ncube. "He completely changed his style. He went straight into trying to lock me up."
In the first minute, Ncube gave up a point on a throw, another two when Prickett turned him and two more when Prickett took him down.
"My coaches [Niemann and Tom Mastantuono] said to take it one point at a time. They said, 'keep at him, you'll break him.' "
Ncube battled back to tie the score 5-5 by the end of the first three-minute round.
After trading single points in the second and final round, Ncube took the lead for good when he was awarded a point after Prickett received a caution from the referee for calling a timeout just as Ncube made a single-leg attack.
"If he hadn't called the timeout I probably would have got the attack for three points or maybe just one point," said Ncube.
In the final 20 seconds, Ncube picked up Prickett and slammed him to the mat for three points and a comfortable cushion.
"Most [wrestlers] when they're leading would try and defend their opposition," said Ncube. "I always attack my opponent."
The bout marked the second time Ncube, 18, and Prickett have squared off. Last April, Prickett won 8-7 in overtime at the national juvenile championships.
Three other local wrestlers earned top-six finishes. In the battle for fifth place in the girls' 47.5-kilogram division, Regi's Shannon Smart defeated her older sister and teammate, Ashley. Shannon also beat Ashley in the division final at the eastern Ontario championships in February.
Tara Hall of Ernestown finished in fifth place in the
girls' 61-kilogram division on the weekend.
38 kilograms: 1. David Commerford
44 kilograms: 1. Mallory McDonald
Kingston's comeback kid
Bryan Blom (Kingston Whig Standard) 16.08.01
Cleopas Ncube's coaches say it's heart that gets him through the tough matches. Ncube, himself, calls it the ability to ignore fatigue and push on.
The 17-year old Kingston wrestler won his first six matches at the Canada Summer Games in London, twice over coming deficits of 6-0 or more to win.
"My coaches say I have a big heart, and that allows me to keep fighting in matches," Ncube (pronounced NOO-bay), the top-seeded competitor in the 58-kilogram class, said last night. "I just think I'm able to fight through the pain of being tired. That's why I've been successful."
After breezing through the competition on Tuesday - with convincing wins over Joe Shimout (Nunavut), Matthew Richards (Prince Edward Island) and Philip Benoit (Newfoundland) - Ncube twice came from behind to win in bouts yesterday at the Woodstock and District Community Complex.
In the first match, Joshua Buckley of New Brunswick had a commanding 6-0 lead at the halfway point, before Ncube battled back for 10 straight points, pinning his counterpart with a 10-6 advantage.
Yesterday afternoon, second-seeded Tomas Drozdzik of British Columbia scored the first seven points of the match, before Ncube fought back to tie it at eight, forcing a three-minute overtime session. Ncube prevailed 9-8 with a double leg shot, attacking Drozdzik's legs and getting behind him to score the winning point.
"The first day I faced some of the weaker competition because I was the top seed," said Ncube, whose mother and sister were on hand yesterday to watch his thrilling matches. "[Yesterday] I ran into tough opponents and things were much more difficult."
In his third match yesterday, Ncube defeated Saskatchewan's Josiah Boyd 15-8. The match lasted the entire six minutes, with neither competitor able to execute the pin.
Ncube enters this morning's semifinals as the top seed, squaring off in a rematch with Boyd, the second seed heading into the medal round, at 10:24 a.m. Tonight's gold medal match begins at 7:54 p.m.
Ncube, a Regiopolis Notre-Dame student who trains at the Kingston Wrestling Club, is no stranger to national competition. In April, he contested the national championship in Saskatoon, narrowly dropping an 8-6 overtime decision to Guelph's Chris Pickett in the juvenile gold medal match.
high intensity of that competition, Ncube cites the field at
the Canada Summer Games as his toughest challenge yet. "The
competition here is a lot harder," he said. "This is a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of the guys here and
they want to make the best of it. There's a lot of pride at
Cleopas Ncube - Won the bronze medal in the men's 58-kilogram wrestling class, defeating Quebec's James Mancini 15-9. Ncube qualified for the bronze medal match after losing his first bout at the Games, 12-9 to Saskatchewan's Josiah Boyd, earlier in the day. Ncube defeated Boyd 15-8 Wednesday night in the team gold medal match. The Regiopolis Notre-Dame student finishes the wrestling competition with a record of 7-1.