Clan are the best at Clansmen Invitational

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Clan earn 40 team points and take the Clansmen Invitational

By Clay Gray
Photos by Mark Burnham

The 2012 Clansmen Invitational was held Nov. 2 and 3 with the men’s university division going down on Friday alongside the women’s open division. A solid showing from both wrestling teams kept the universities’ men and women’s open titles in Burnaby. On the first day, there were several stand out performances. They came from five men (Sukhan Chalan, 57 kg, Josh Punzo, 72 kg, Sanjay Rekhi, 82 kg, Manvir Sahota, 90 kg, and Kooner Gurjot, 130 kg) and one woman (Danielle Lappage, 63 kg) standing atop the podium on Friday. The Clan’s medals didn’t end there, as SFU would snag three silvers and two bronzes to bring the total medal count 11 for Friday divisions. The dominance of SFU’s women was evident in the team scores for the competition as they ended the day with 40 team points while the second place team would finish with only 22. Women’s head coach Mike Jones said, “It was a good home opener for our young athletes. Overall I thought we performed well but when you have a group of 20, someone is going to be disappointed with their individual results.”
Saturday’s competition saw only men taking to the mats in their open division. Although the Clan had high hopes for some of its wrestlers, only two would step onto the podium, with Sukan Cahal placing third, and Sunny Dhinsa taking second. Cahal came up short against the eventual champion, Zach Sanders, dropping into the backside where he would face current teammate Skylar Davis. After a victory over Davis, Cahal squared off against a former teammate in the medal round, which he won in a nail-biting a decision. Men’s head coach Justin Abdou expressed admiration for Chalan’s performance. “[He] wrestled well, his only loss in either tournament came from a four time division one All-American and recent university worlds bronze medalist,” said Abdou.
The Clansmen Invitational is known for attracting some of the best heavyweights from around the world, and this year was no exception. SFU’s freshman sensation Sunny Dhinsa started the day with a bye into the quarter-finals where he dealt Puerto Rico’s Edagardo Lopez a defeat via a two-round decision. In the semifinals, Sunny grabbed hold of another decision over Burnaby Mountain’s Jaspreet Sahota. However, victory eluded Dhinsa in the finals, as Tervel Diagnev of Sunkist Wrestling Club proved to be too much. The loss was not taken too hard by the 19-year-old Dhinsa, since Diagnev recently placed fifth at the London Olympics. When asked about Sunny’s performance, Justin Abdou said, “The Clansmen was one of Sunny’s first tournaments for the Clan. He was in a deep weight class that had a former NCAA Division I champion place fifth. This tournament gives us a benchmark of where we are and an idea of what we need to work on in order to get the same level as the top five heavyweights in the world.”