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Women’s wrestling coach Mitch Ostberg named Canada West’s coach of the year

By Dianne Miranda, March 11 2024—

On Feb. 10, the Dinos hosted the 2024 Canada West (CW) Wrestling Championships where the best wrestlers from the University of Alberta, University of Lethbridge and University of Saskatchewan competed on the University of Calgary’s mats in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium. 

In a competition of equals more or less, with the team scores closely contested, the women’s wrestling team took home the conference title that weekend, and Mitch Ostberg, head coach, was named as coach of the year after this banner win. 

Ostberg shares that this recognition and title is an indication of the performance of the team and that this was a great opportunity for the Dinos to do it in front of a home crowd. 

“We won a team title at home and so that’s the big thrill is that the athletes are rewarded with that team title as well,” said Ostberg in an interview with the Gauntlet

The Dinos women’s wrestling team has been ranked first in U SPORTS and in the country. The team has had an incredibly strong start to the season and Ostberg shared some of its highlights and memorable moments. 

Erin Geddie returned to represent us again, which is awesome. She’s struggled to represent us [in] previous years. She did a great job in CW, so it was great in her fifth year to have her on the team again and represent us and win a team title with her being a part of it”, he said. 

“We had a unique individual on the team this year, Grace Lew. She brings an acknowledgement that our athletes can be very successful out in the community, advocate on campus through committees and be stellar students — aspire to the highest academic level and yet still be a rough, tough female wrestler, real competitor, and help her team win a CW title. She’s an example of how much can be achieved in university years by an individual if they put their whole heart into it.”

This year is Ostberg’s 31st season as a Dinos coach. In U SPORTS events, Ostberg has led the Dinos to win four national championships for women. He was honoured as the U SPORTS women’s coach of the year in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Under Ostberg, the Dinos have also secured a total of 14 CW Championships across both men’s and women’s teams. This includes consecutive women’s championships in 2015 and 2016, 2019 and of course, this year. 

Ostberg shares that there are always challenges in coaching and that it’s never quite as simple as it appears from the outside as he reminds us that student-athletes are individuals. 

“There’s always academic, social and family challenges that come with student-athletes and this season was similar to many others. I’ve seen lots but there were some new challenges this year that I had to support and try to help them work through so that they can be the performer of the team,” said Ostberg. “What I know is that if I stick to my coaching principles, [then] I can work through it and support the team the best I can to support whatever individuals need special care.”

Ostberg attributes the success of the team, and the Dinos athletics program in general, to come from an institutional level. He acknowledges that he is one part of the bigger team supporting these athletes. 

“We have great supports at the U of C — sports medicine, very supportive athletics directors and sports staff, academic support within athletics and health care support on campus. It’s not just on me to support the athlete, it’s an effort by the entire campus and that’s why I hope the entire university is proud of the accomplishment. It is a function of the entire campus that helps student-athletes be successful athletes.”

Now the focus moves to the U SPORTS National Championships, set to take place at the University of Guelph on Mar. 1 to 2.

“The immediate goal is to try to win a U SPORTS national championship team title for the Dinos. A longer term goal is to keep the program alive and well; welcome new student-athletes into it to keep it competitive and to always, every year, try to win a CW team title and a national title.”

To keep updated on the latest Dinos news, visit the Go Dinos website or download the Go Dinos app

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