Cochrane wrestler Nick Hooper and former Cochrane Cowboy Annika Fines won gold at the national U20 wrestling championship and are heading to the world stage as part of Team Canada.

Hooper won the junior men's 74 kg event at the national wrestling championships in Ottawa.

"I've been waiting for that one for quite a while," says Hooper, "like, any world team all through cadet and now juniors as well. It's quite nice to make Team Canada."

The win has earned him a berth at the U20 Pan-American Championships in Lima, Peru, July 11-13. It will be followed by a world championship appearance in early September.

Hooper competed against UAlberta Golden Bear wrestler Aidan Gresik in the final. He's met him often on the mats since junior high.

"I thought it was awesome representing Canada West together."

"I've beaten him before, but you never know. Wrestling is a sport that's never 100 per cent guaranteed. I knew I had to bring my 'A' game or Aidan would find a flaw and beat me. I was happy to see him there, but I was also nervous."

Annika FinesAnnika Fines was named most outstanding female wrestler at the nationals. (photo/ Laurel Jarvis)

Calgarian Annika Fines, who is a teammate of Hooper on the UCalgary Dinos team, topped the female 57 kg event, beating Ella Finding, of the Burnaby B.C. Wrestling Club in the final. She was also named most outstanding wrestler in the female division and will also be representing Canada in Lima.

The wins come hot off of medal performances by both wrestlers at the Canada West and USports national championships.