Kingston wrestling club takes two gold medals at national competition

(L to R) Annie Niemann, Braddock Slack, Grady Howes, and Connor Quinton of the Kingston and Area Olympic Wrestling Club at the 2024 Canadian Wrestling Championships in Mississauga. Submitted photo.

Local wrestlers Annie Niemann, Braddock Slack, Ryker Campbell, and Grady Howes took to Mississauga earlier this month to compete in a national competition — and earned the third place title in all of Canada.

On the weekend of Friday, Apr. 5 to Sunday, Apr. 7, 2024, the Kingston and Area Olympic Wrestling Club attended the 2024 Canadian Wrestling Championships (U19, U17, U15) where the club brought home gold in two categories. The club also received the second place Club Team Award after ending the second day of competition with 18 points.

Annie Niemann took gold in the under 15 (U15) women’s division, having won every match she participated in. Niemann completed the tournament without being taken down by any of her opponents.

“No one got close to taking me down” Niemann laughed.

“It is really fun, it is really hard physically and mentally, but the community and the club, it is so rewarding, and it makes you a better all-around athlete,” she said of why she loves wrestling.

Braddock Slack also took gold for the club in the U15 men’s division, helping the team secure the Club Award. Braddock has been with the team for four years after starting in Ottawa and moving to Kingston. He was followed by Grady Howes, who took silver in the U15 men’s division.

Another of the Kingston-based club’s athletes, Ryker Campbell, brought home fourth place in the U15 division, winning three of his five matches over the weekend. Campbell started his wrestling journey in November of 2021 with this team and thanked his coaches Connor Quinton and Vova Burukov.

“I am super proud of the U15’s, we don’t have 100 people out here, and for us to come back with two national champions and silver medalists, and a couple other really strong performances — In the U15 boy’s division we finished first in Ontario, with only three wrestlers — It is just kind of a testament to the hard work they have been putting in, that is probably the highlight to me,” Coach Quinton commended.

Marcus Niemann (Annie’s father) has been wrestling for 39 years, and he started coaching when he was 16. Niemann is the coach who headed the team in Mississauga, along with his wife Ashley, and the founder of the Kingston and Area Olympic Wrestling Club. The couple head-up their regular practices at the BGC South East (formerly Boys and Girls Club) location on Bath Road every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.

“All of our kids have jumped tons of levels over this last summer, and last year, and that has been apparent as most of them have been wrestling up age groups all year, too, just to get more matches and tougher competition. When they get down to their own ages, they are just monsters,” Niemann said with pride.

“They were fantastic! Technically they were so sharp, and they looked so good. They wrestled well beyond their years, and they really showed up,” he said of the team’s performance at the national championships.

To learn more about the club, the people behind it, and how to get involved, visit the Kingston and Area Olympic Wrestling Club website.

Rylie Snider is the inaugural member of the Kingstonist NextGen team, dedicated to fostering the passion and knowledge of local youth writers and reporters while highlighting the vibrant sports, arts, and social scenes of the younger generations in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
A Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School student, Snider is dedicated to keeping people updated on everything going on in our schools, and her coverage focuses on everything, from local sports and theatre, to fundraising events and opportunities for students in the area.
For more information on the Kingstonist NextGen team, email Editor-in-Chief Tori Stafford at [email protected].

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