Wunderkind martial art sisters Kiana and Zena Shew led the Victoria Bulldogs school wrestling team with gold medals at the recent Cougar Invite at Frances Kelsey in Mill Bay.
The home-schooled Shews won two of the Bulldogs’ five gold medals at the Cougar Invite. Kiana won hers in the junior girls 35- to 40-kilogram class and Zena in the girls 31 to 32 kgs.
The other three came from Ecole Victor Brodeur students Sekou Tatem in the junior boys 50 to 55 kgs, Ivory Tatem in the elementary 40 to 43 kgs and Sara Vanderhasselt in the elementary 30 to 33 kgs.
Oak Bay’s Kaitlyn Kiddell was second among junior girls in the 67-72 kgs, while Reynolds secondary’s Khaya Mackillop (independent) was second in the senior girls 60 to 63 kgs.
“We took six wrestlers and won five gold, that’s incredible,” said Ed Ashmore, longtime coach of the Bulldogs.
The octogenarian was inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in October. He recently fell and cracked his collar bone but is able to instruct the wrestlers with his left hand, he said.
“There was a time I could do one-arm chin-ups,” he joked.
The Bulldogs wrestling team has existed in different forms for all five decades Ashmore has coached it, and is currently a joint district school team open to students from SD 61 and 63.
Following the Cougar Invite, three of the Bulldogs competed at the Dec. 11 War on the Floor, hosted at Simon Fraser University.
Zena earned gold while wrestling up one weight class, winning all three matches. But it was an eye opener for Kiana, who also went up a weight class and finished fifth.
“They were just too big and strong for [Kiana],” Ashmore said.
Sekou Tatem also went to SFU, finishing seventh in the senior men’s 51 kgs.
“I’m glad he could go. I think it was an excellent thing to do for all three going to that tournament, reminding [Kiana and Sekou] they may be able to beat everyone on the Island, but not the Mainland.”
Reynolds’ Khaya Mackillop was third in the senior girls 64 kgs.
Upcoming in the new year is the Western Canada Age Class in Richmond, Jan. 22-23, followed by the Alberni Armarda Invitational, Feb. 5-6. The Island wrestling championships are Feb. 13-14 at Cowichan secondary and the B.C. High School Championships are Feb. 25-27 in Abbotsford.