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By Daniel Rodrigues
Reaching the podium five times and having the year's most outstanding male wrestler – you could say it was a good weekend for Concordia at the national wrestling championships.
Concordia captured two gold, two silver, one bronze and Stingers wrestler David Tremblay earned the distinction as the most outstanding on the men's side at the 2009 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) tournament Feb. 27 and 28 at the University of Calgary.
“It was great for me to win the award,” said Tremblay. “It showed I wrestled well and it’s an honour to be recognized.”
Tremblay's award comes after he won the gold medal in the 61kg weight class, outscoring his opponents 39-3 over four matches, including wins over two past CIS champions. He becomes the sixth male wrestler in Concordia history to capture the honour and the first to do so since Jean-François Daviau tied for the award in 1996.
Quite the feat for even the most seasoned athlete, never mind for someone just starting his university athletic career. Perhaps overlooked in his success this weekend is the fact the 21-year-old Tremblay is only a rookie and has another four years of CIS eligibility.
“I would like to represent Concordia for another four years,” said Tremblay. “I want to try and become one of the few wrestlers to win five university championships.”
Along with Tremblay, teammate Alex Dyas was the other Stinger to win gold during the championships. His medal was his second won at the nationals; he won a bronze at last year's competition.
“This is definitely one of my favorite accomplishments,” said the 22-year-old Dyas, who has been wrestling since the age of five. “It means a lot. We all put in a lot of work for this.”
In his final year of competition, Steve Rennalls earned a silver medal, building his career total to three medals after two bronze medal finishes in 2005 and 2007.
In the women’s draw, 2008 CIS female rookie of the year, Nikita Chicoine added a bronze to the silver medal she had won a year previous.
Rounding out the medal haul was Concordia’s Olympian David Zilberman, who returned to Concordia this winter after a two-year absence (see Journal, Jan. 29, 2009). He added a bronze medal to go along with his two gold and one silver he'd won between 2004 and 2006.
Even more impressive than his individual accomplishments is the amount of leadership and wisdom Zilberman brings to the Stingers. Both Tremblay and Dyas credit the veteran for being vital to their success this season.
“Having Dave around was great,” said Tremblay. “He’s been here and done it before. He knows what it takes.”
Perhaps Zilberman is following in the footsteps of his father Victor Zilberman, who has been the coach for Concordia wrestling for the last 32 years. During that time, Victor has guided his athletes to 52 gold medals and more than 100 medals in total. He has also been named coach of the year in 2006, 1986 and in 1984.
“Victor commands so much respect,” said Dyas. “It is a tremendous asset having him as our coach.”