Brock men capture seventh straight OUA crown
Brock men’s wrestler Max Budgey is the definition of perseverance.
The 24-year-old Onslow Mountain, N.S., native recently won his second straight Ontario University Athletics gold medal after it took him several tries just to make the powerful Brock team. The 76-kilogram champion has been at Brock since 2016.
“He couldn’t make the team. Last year, he won OUs and it was a big moment for him — a really big moment — because he made the team obviously and he was captain of the team,” said Brock head coach Marty Calder, who was named the 2023 OUA men’s coach of the year. “He has been through a lot. He didn’t come here with the best pedigree so he has had to work for it.”
His work ethic is second to none.
“We have had a lot of hard workers but he is right there with the elite that we have had towards preparation and the rest of it,” Calder said. “He is a coach’s dream. He gives everything he can, he is good to his teammates, he doesn’t say a lot as you know, but he is the kind of guy whose actions speak louder than words.”
Budgey’s early trials and tribulations have made him the wrestler he is today.
“He has already had the shots and he has been set back. He has been told he is not good enough a lot of times and now he is good enough and he is winning,” Calder said. “If I were to set a model or pathway for what we want here, it would be his type of character.”
Budgey doesn’t sugarcoat his early years at Brock.
“It was kind of a rough start. It was hard.”
In the end, it was all worth it.
“It has built a strong foundation within me and I appreciate it that much more.”
The business major feels he has made progress as a wrestler over the past two seasons.
“It is consistency and being able to do things every day and not just on a special day. That way, when I am under pressure, I can perform those skills.”
Budgey defeated Lakehead University’s Mateo Anisi 14-12 in the final.
“The final was closer than what I would have liked and there are some things that I need to clean up.”
He now moves on to his first-ever USPORTS championships Feb. 24 and 25 at the University of Alberta.
“I am excited. It is one of those moments where you get to show yourself what you can do.”
Winning USPORTS gold will be a challenge.
“He has a guy from Concordia that he lost to this year who is a good competitor and he is going to have his hands full if he meets up with him,” Calder said.
Budgey’s gold helped the Brock men with their seventh straight and 24th overall OUA team title. He didn’t get weighed down thinking about that incredible run.
“I don’t know if it is pressure. It is a proud tradition and more of a motivator. I know that I trust our process. We have done this before.”
Other Brock men winning gold were Carlos Vargas (68 kilograms), Bobby Narwal (72 kilograms) and Roger Li (125 kilograms).
Earning silver medals were Jordan Wylie (82 kilograms) and Callum Knox (100 kilograms) while Gabe Blanchette (65 kilograms) mined bronze.
Placing fourth were Gabriel Sementilli (57 kilograms), Cho Sherpa (61 kilograms) and Mark Summers (90 kilograms).
“I was very happy. The effort was there. The kids made a lot of mistakes but they did everything they could to win and give their best,” Calder said, of his team’s OUA performance. “From that standpoint, that is all you can ask for.”
Strong performances came from up and down the roster.
“We try not to live off expectations because that can drive you crazy but I feel our 61 (Sherpa) had a great tournament. Gabe Blanchette came third but his third/fourth-place match was amazing. We had some kids that were expected to win so it’s hard for them to exceed expectations,” Calder said. “I thought Gabe Sementilli wrestled better and put himself in a position to beat some of these guys next weekend who he wasn’t close to before. Mark Summers qualified and he was a fill-in and that was a big surprise for us.”
Getting all 10 members of the team qualified for nationals was a big deal for Calder.
“It gives us a chance to score points at nationals. That’s Step No. 1 and Step No. 2 is winning gold medals. That’s what it really comes down to.”
Like his wrestlers, Calder is looking forward to the USPORTS championships.
“I feel excited about our team competing and being able to put in on the line. I don’t know where we will stand at the end but I can tell you that I feel this team likes to win and like to compete.”