A South Surrey wrestler is hoping to lead Simon Fraser University to a national championship this week in Michigan.
Earl Marriott Secondary alum Karla Godinez-Gonzalez is ranked No. 1 in her weight class of 116 pounds in the National Wrestling Coaches Association rankings – teammate Alex Hedrick is also No. 1 in her division – and will look to successfully defend that ranking March 4-5 at NCWWC National Championships in Adrian, Mich.
SFU competes in the U.S.-based NCAA Div. 2 – the only Canadian school to do so; other Canadian universities compete in U Sports. They enter nationals as the No. 3 overall team; King University (Tennessee) is ranked No. 1 and McKendree University (Illinois) enters the meet as the No. 2 seed.
According to a news release from SFU, Godinez-Gonzalez is moving down to the 116-pound class after competing all season at higher weights. She was a national champion in 2020; SFU did not compete at nationals in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Godinez-Gonzalez – as well as Hedrick and four other SFU wrestlers – won regional titles last month in Pennsylvania, with Godinez-Gonzalez’s win coming in the 116-pound division. Another SFU wrestler, Alexia Seal – daughter of longtime Black Press Media photographer Evan Seal – finished second at regionals in the women’s 109-pound weight class.
Godinez-Gonzalez is the second in her family to find wrestling success at SFU. Her older sister, Ana, also competed at the collegiate level – both at SFU and also the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford. Last November, Ana – also an Earl Marriott grad – won a gold medal at U23 World Wrestling Championships after more than a year away from competition due to the pandemic.