Stratford’s Christian MacDonald, Charlottetown’s Jesse Heartz and Summerside’s Ben Tanton lost their bronze medal matches in their respective weight classes late Friday night.
Coach Nik Cummins hugged each one of them after the matches.
“They made a coach very, very proud of them. Their heart and their will showed on the mat,” he said. “My boys were this close. They trained hard. They earned their respect.”
Tanton lost 5-0 to Quebec’s Nataël Lebrun Cantin in the up to 60 kilogram division. British Columbia’s Juggy Gakhal beat MacDonald 4-1 in the up to 65 kilogram division while B.C.’s Harbans Gill defeated Heartz 4-1 in the up to 76 kilogram division.
Cummins said the competition was strong and the Island athletes competed hard for their province.
“They’re the best in the country and my boys competed with them. They’re right close to them, I believe they’re better. I know they’re better.”
The Islanders lost their semifinal contest Friday morning to put them into the bronze medal match.
“I’m so excited for them,” MacDonald said of his teammates. “Everybody from P.E.I. worked really hard and I feel like that’s why we’re here right now. Everything we did leading up to this point has been earned because we work very hard.”
MacDonald lost 4-0 to Alberta’s Connor McNeice, who previously finished fifth at the cadet world championship.
“I am very humbled to face someone like that,” said MacDonald, noting he has a photo of McNeice. “I was very excited leading into the match because that’s a wrestler that I really look up. He’s a wrestler I base my wrestling off of.”