SASKATOON – There’s a bit of extra buzz in the University of Saskatchewan Huskies wrestling room this week. The excitement is on account of the team’s annual Huskie Open meet this upcoming weekend. The athletes are eager to compete in front of family and friends.
“The Huskie Open’s always special because it’s our only home tournament so it’s great to get the home crowd behind us,” said Andrew Johnson, who’s in his fourth year with the squad.
After a fifth-place finish at the CIS championships last season, Johnson has continued to perform at a high level. He’s hoping a strong showing this weekend will be a taste of things to come.
“I came second at the (University of Alberta) Golden Bear Open two weeks ago and I’ve been showing pretty strong results,” he said. “Hopefully, that’s going to add up to another medal at Canada West Championships and another at the CIS (championships).”
Meanwhile, defending CIS silver medallist Annie Monteith is back with the Huskies after spending a semester studying abroad. She’s approaching this weekend’s meet as an opportunity for self-assessment ahead of the Canada West championships in three weeks’ time.
“I can tell that I took some time off and so I want to get my timing back on. I just want to wrestle how I was wrestling last year because I had a really good season,” she said.
Now in her fifth year with the Huskies, Monteith has embraced her role as women’s captain. She’s highly motivated to help her team win a conference title and also to take care of some unfinished business at nationals.
“CIS is my big goal this year because I finished second last year, so I really want to win this year. It would mean a lot, and our team standings mean a lot to me, too, especially this year being captain.”
This week however, the Huskies’ focus is on defending home turf while setting the stage for future success.
“Take shots, do something that they haven’t normally done before that they’ve been working on in practice,” said head coach Daniel Olver of his instructions to the team this week. “If they can do that we can bring something into Can West that is really going to help us flip the script there and maybe bring home a team title.”
The Huskie Open takes place Saturday, Jan. 23 in the Education Gym.
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