The National Capital Wrestling Club was founded in the fall of 1976, through the combined efforts of the Ottawa YMCA, the Ontario Amateur Wrestling Association (OAWA), Bob Schrader, and Gord Bertie. The NCWC has benefited from many outstanding coaches, and produced many very successful wrestlers over the years.
The First Three Decades
In the late 1970s, the original coaches were Olympians Ole Sorensen and Gord Bertie, and Bill Hallett. Ole coached for many years, off and on, up until the early 2000s, while Gord coached until 1980.
In the 1980s, a new generation of coaches joined the club. Bob Price coached from 1982 to 2003. Phil Knox also coached in the late 1980s, until the beginning of the 1990s.
In the 1990’s, new coaches included Mike Payette, Lee Mackay, and Ray Rioux, all of whom coached until the beginning of the 2000s. Michel Cote also coached with the club in that decade.
Some notable NCWC wrestlers of the 1970s and 1980s, many of whom had success at the national level, included:
Ray Takahashi (Olympian in 1976 and 1984)
Brian Renken (Olympian in 1976)
Ed and Dan Sernoski (SFU Alumni)
Mike Payette (won OFSAA in 1979)
Kirk and Greg Thomas
Keith and Jim Kenny
Carlo and George Aeillo
Mike and Dave Fabro
Bobby and Jimmy Watson
Sean MacFayden (married Tina Takahashi, Ray Takahashi’s sister)
Denis Algan (won OFSAA in 1985)
Steve Needham (won OFSAA in 1979 and 1980)
Prominent wrestlers of the 1990s, again many of whom went on to great success at the national level, included:
Evan MacDonald (won OFSAA in 2000, Olympian in 2004)
Mike Smith (alternate to Daniel Igali for the 1996 Olympics)
Evan Lavoie (won OFSAA in 1991)
Tyler Marghetis (won OFSAA in 2001 and 2002 and wrestled for Concordia)
The New Millennium
The past decade has seen the NCWC go through many changes, all of which have contributed to the successful program we have today.
Mike Lidstone took over the role of head coach from 2000 to 2006, while Mike Smith took over as technical director and continues to be our most experienced coach. That era also marked the 2002 arrival of (Little) Dean Sherratt, who remains our club president; and the 2003 arrival of (Big) Dean O’Gorman, who coached the NCWC until 2013. In 2007, Dean O’Gorman established the Chelsea Spartans, a sister club on the Quebec side for younger wrestlers. The Chelsea Spartans ran successfully for five years and greatly benefited youth wrestling in the area, inspiring the youth program the NCWC has today.
In the first half of the decade, club practices rotated through a series of high schools around Ottawa, successfully partnering with some of the high school wrestling programs in the city. Under Mike Lidstone’s leadership, the NCWC secured a Trillium grant to purchase three full wrestling mats, and established an annual wrestling tournament that has run since January 2005 (then the Canadian International Wrestling Festival, later renamed the more modest National Capital Wrestling Festival). This tournament continues to provide an excellent experience for high school-aged and younger wrestlers from all over Ontario and Quebec.
Mike Lidstone left for Nova Scotia in 2006, as Clint Kingsbury arrived from Brock University. Clint took over as head coach and moved the club to Algonquin College, in partnership with the school. After Clint left for London in 2009, Joe Greer, another Brock alumnus, took over as head coach until 2012. Under Joe, the club moved from Algonquin College to its current home at St. Patrick's High School.
Many recent nominees to the Ottawa Annual Sports Dinner have been members or alumni of the NCWC:
2002: Tyler Marghetis
2004: Evan MacDonald
2005: Erica Wiebe
2006: Miles Cundell
2007: Ben Sayah
2008: Ilya Abelev
2009: Ilya Abelev
2010: Ben Sayah
2013: Erica Weibe
2014: Erica Weibe
2015: Erica Weibe
Olympians associated with the NCWC:
1972: Ole Sorensen (founding NCWC coach)
1972 & 1976: Gord Bertie (founding NCWC coach)
1980 & 1984: Ray Takahashi
2008: Evan MacDonald
2016: Erica Weibe (Olympic gold medalist)
In recent memory, a number of NCWC wrestlers have won gold medals at OFSAA:
2005: Alex Brown-Theriault
2006: Miles Cundell
2008: Sarah Stringer and John Goodyear
2013: Taylor Robinson
2014: Quinlan Walker and Augusta Eve
2017: Klara Patel
2018: Ismail Ayyoub, Jessica Hong, Taha Chahrour, and Evan Walker
2019: Ismail Ayyoub and Jessica Hong
The NCWC Today
Chris Schrauwen took over as head coach in 2012, and this was followed by some of the most successful seasons in NCWC history. This included two national champions (Taylor Robinson and Augusta Eve) and six gold/silver provincial medals in 2013. In 2014, the NCWC came second in the female and overall team rankings at the juvenile provincial championships with the help of six medalists: Wassim Ghadban (gold), Quinlan Walker (gold), Augusta Eve (gold), Claire Lizotte (silver), Andrea Pretty (silver), and Rhiannon Digweed (bronze). Quinlan Walker went on to win gold at OFSAA and bronze at the juvenile national championships. Those accomplishments took the club to a new level, and the NCWC has worked on increasing its performance in every year since.
The NCWC continues to build on that success, attending over twenty tournaments per season for wrestlers in all age groups. Additions in recent years include a separate practice for members of the ever-growing youth program, a weekly satellite practice in Kanata, and a rural outreach program in Russell. The club is focused on building strong relationships with as many high school programs as possible.
For over a decade, club president Dean Sherratt has expended considerable efforts to assist wrestlers by purchasing low-cost wrestling shoes and other equipment, then passing it on for significantly cheaper than the retail price (occasionally at no cost). More than 600 wrestlers have benefited since 2005, mostly in Ottawa but as far away as Kashechewan (a Cree settlement on James Bay which received a free parcel of shoes for their wrestling program), and the Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan.
The NCWC also benefits greatly from its strong community of parent volunteers.