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3 teen wrestlers represent the Central Okanagan at nationals

Caleb Trudeau, Max Sabey and Leo Aaron competed at nationals in Ontario on the weekend of April 6

Three wrestlers from Kelowna and Lake Country flew home from nationals in Ontario with much heavier luggage.

Caleb Trudeau from Oyama had two gold medals to pack into his bags, while teammate Max Sabey brought a gold and silver back to Kelowna after competing throughout the weekend of April 6.

Trudeau topped the podium at nationals in both the freestyle and greco-roman styles of wrestling.

Sabey also clinched gold in Greco-Roman style and placed second in freestyle wrestling.

Athlete Leo Aaron also performed incredibly well at nationals with only three months of specific wrestling training.

“He gave some of the top Canadian talent all they could handle,” said coach Joe Loucks of Spartan Wrestling Kelowna about Aaron’s performance.

All three of the athletes were previously training in another style of fighting that combines wrestling with striking called jujitsu at Toshido MMA.

Coach Loucks said that while there is a lot of crossover between the two disciplines, the athletes had to put time and effort into their training to master the nuance of wrestling matches.

Loucks said that wrestling is a great sport for young athletes as it helps them build a solid foundation and provides opportunities for high-level competition after high school in varsity athletics.

In an effort to revive the popular high-school sport of wrestling in Kelowna, Spartan Wrestling was formed in 2022. Since then, the team has been working with the crew at Toshido MMA to recruit athletes build a team of young wrestlers.

“We have started this club to create opportunities for local athletes and families. Our mission as a group is to create a thriving wrestling community in the Okanagan that represents the area with sportsmanship and pride,” said Coach Loucks.

Spartan Wrestling currently trains 15 athletes aged 14 to 17 years old out of the Toshido facility.

Loucks said they are incredibly grateful for the support they have received from Toshido.

He said that the athletes at Spartan Wrestling have been training hard since November to compete in the high school season before peaking for nationals.

The team will now take a few weeks of reduced training before beginning preparations for the BC Summer Games in July. The team is looking to grow and all people interested in wrestling are encouraged to contact Coach Loucks by email at

Spartan Wrestling is also fundraising for its upcoming season to ensure that cost is not a barrier to sport for any young athlete.

Unfortunately, some talented athletes were unable to travel to Ontario to compete at nationals due to the cost, said Loucks.

To inquire about supporting the team, email

“The future is bright for our new club in only our second year with these young athletes leading the way.”

Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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