Wrestlers of the Cochrane Cowboys continue to be a force to reckon with at Cadet/Juvenile Canadian Wrestling Championships.

Ten members of the club recently returned from championships, hosted by Windsor, ON, with five individual medals and a second place for their  juvenile men's team.

Connor McNeice won his fourth national championship, this time to in the 63 kg juvenile weight class, helping him meet a personal target before leaving the Cowboys. He bounced back after finishing fourth in the national junior championships a few weeks previous, something he found personally disappointing.

"He refocused and it was the best I've seen him wrestle all year," says Vern McNeice, one of the Cowboys' coaches."He was dialed in for sure."

Brendan McKeage finished his juvenile career on a high note with a silver medal performance after having to forego the nationals last year due to an injury.

"He actually ended up with a sprained or broken toe in final match," says McNeice. "He came up a little bit short but he put his heart and soul into it. He had a tough semifinal and quarterfinal and to get there and be ready to go was a great way to end his juvenile career."

Connor Swedlo and Hunter Smith both came home with bronze medals in their respective juvenile weight class and McNeice salutes how they fought back from losses early in the championships to medal.

"They beat some very talented young athletes enroute to bronze medals so they know where they're at. Good for those kids."

Those four medals catapulted the team to a tie with The Akhara of Champions team, of Mississauga, ON. but based upon medals Ahkara took the banner. McNeice says the men's juvenile banner is the toughest to win and to come so close with four wrestlers, compared to some clubs with 20 presenters,was a huge accomplishment.

Danika Cook continued to display her prowess on the mats with a bronze in her cadet women's weight class.

Also participating from the Cowboys were Elijah and Isaiah Springer, Connor Pointen, Naomi Cook and Tyler Weninger.

McNeice was impressed with the determination all 10 wrestlers.

"They all wrestled hard, they wrestled to the best of the capabilities and they didn't leave anything on the mat. They carried themselves well in victory and defeat and I'm really proud of our group."

With a mix bag of experience he sees the yearning of the younger competitiors to go back to the nationals.

"It's a learning experience for those new ones, for sure. They met it head on and now they've had a taste and look forward to going back next year, which is super."

He continues to be impressed with sacrifices made by these young athletes in their pursuit of excellence.

"To manager their academics and athletics and their personnel life, these kids are really sacrificing a ton. It's not to ask for credit or kudos, but they're a really remarkable bunch of kids and the life skills they'll learn out of this I'm sure will do them well down the road."

While the 2016-17 season is now over for the Cowboys, 10 of their members will be competing for a shot at making Team Alberta for the upcoming Canada Games in Winnipeg this August.

McNeice, who is head coach of Alberta's wrestling team for the games, says the two stage trials start this weekend in Edmonton. The top two wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the final round about a month later for a best out of three match to determine who will represent the province.

He believes the Cowboys will be competitive and participating in the trials is a valuable opportunity for all athletes.

"The experience is second to none and it's quite often a catalyst for these elite young athletes to compel themselves on to even higher levels and international competition."