Red Hawks wrestling coach Paul Klose demonstrates a move with senior wrestler Matt Manning for the team during practice on Wednesday Nov. 29 in the Hawks’ nest at the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. For the first time ever the high school will host more than 100 wrestlers from a dozen high schools for the COSSA championship on Feb. 22. /DARREN LUM Staff

Haliburton hosting COSSA championship

By Darren Lum

Published Dec. 5 2017

Red Hawks wrestling coach Paul Klose’s eyes light up talking about getting to host COSSA (Central Ontario Secondary School Athletics) championships  for the first time.
“Dan and I wanted it for a while” he said referring to co-coach Dan Fockler. “It’s never been in Haliburton so I’m happy for it.”
There will be close to 120 wrestlers in 30 weight classes from a dozen high schools coming for the event scheduled on Feb. 22  with matches beginning at 10 a.m.
COSSA is the tournament where athletes compete to place in the top two of each weight class to advance to the all-provincial tournament OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) championship scheduled from March 5 to 7 and hosted by Windsor.

Klose who said COSSA is supposed to be shared with schools adds this event is a “celebration of the sport.”
It will showcase wrestling to the public educating about and promoting the sport which could encourage students to join the team next year. The athletic facility here he said is a great space for wrestlers and spectators.
Due to less participation and associated higher costs there will not be a Kawartha tournament to qualify for COSSA this season. All wrestlers in Kawartha will make COSSA which is being used a “trial run” for a new COSSA qualifying format.
Wrestlers organized by weight class will earn points for finishing in the top four places at four Kawartha league tournaments. The accumulation of these points will end with the fourth tournament to finalize seeding for COSSA. The fourth and final seeding tournament is on Feb. 15 at I.E. Weldon in Lindsay. The top four seeded wrestlers will earn “preferential positions” in the COSSA tournament draw. This seeding concept was chosen to ensure the top-two wrestlers don’t face each other right away and enable the possibility of a final between the two.
The decision was made during last year’s OFSAA competition.
“We’ll see it’s a trial run. If it doesn’t work we’ll go back to the way it was” he said.

With 18 boys and six girls the 24 member Hawks team is different than other years.
Klose wasn’t sure why there was a shift from more girls to more guys this year. He thought a strong girls volleyball program this year may have been a factor. However he was happy about those that did come out this season for wrestling.
He estimates there are close to half who are rookies while there are several returning senior wrestlers such as Matt Manning Aidan Coles Chloe Samson Noelle Dupret Smith Emily Klose on the team.
He describes his senior wrestlers as focused and looking forward to repeating last year’s success.
Their drive and urgency to improve has been motivating for the new wrestlers he adds.

Senior wrestler Matt Manning who advanced from COSSA to earn his first all-provincial berth in wrestling last year said he was “pumped” when he learned the school was hosting COSSA.
However the fourth-year wrestler in Grade 12 sees two sides to his school hosting.
“It’s good to be doing it in front of family and friends like guys you know who come down and go watch but there is also the added pressure of not making it. You just have to go out there and wrestle hard” he said.