Finishing fourth at juvenile nationals was a satisfying achievement for wrestler Jack McDougall after winning bronze at the junior championships.
The Grade 12 St. Albert Skyhawk ended last weekend’s U18 juvenile tournament in Windsor, Ont. with six wins (one was a bye) and two losses in the 63-kilogram division after going 3-1 in the 60-kg category at the U20 junior competition last month in St. Catharines, Ont.
“There was a lot more people in my weight category this time. In junior nationals there was closer to 10 and this one there was 35 people so there was a lot more competition in this one,” said McDougall, 17, one of four Albertans in his division at juvenile nationals.
“I wrestled fairly well. I just made one or two mistakes.”
Both losses were against Connor Quinton of the Kingston Wrestling Club and the scores were 15-4 in the quarter-finals of the championship round and 11-0 in the bronze-medal match.
“He had solid defence and he knew what I was going to do so he blocked out like my primary moves and after that it was very difficult for me to get anything so he kind of had free rein to take the shots he wanted. He ended up controlling the match a fair bit,” said McDougall of the opponent he beat earlier in the season at a tournament in Ontario.
The Edmonton Wrestling Club member, who also trains with the University of Alberta Bears, posted two victories by identical 10-0 scores before the first go-round with Quinton.
“My mental game wasn’t quite there at the time. I wasn’t mentally prepared,” said McDougall of the loss.
McDougall recovered to pull off victories of 12-1, 16-4 and 13-2 in the consolation round before the bronze-medal setback to Quinton equalled last year’s 63-kg result in his juvenile national debut.
“It wasn’t too devastating because I had really been going for a gold medal so once I went to the B side I was in it more to enjoy myself than to come out with a medal. I was just happy to be wrestling at that point,” McDougall said. “I wrestled better in that (bronze-medal) match.”
The last match of the day for McDougall capped off a gruelling grind on the mats that started early in the morning.
“I think I finished wrestling close to five p.m. because I lost my third match and then every match after that was very close together because I was on the B side,” said the three-time medallist for the Skyhawks at the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association provincials as the 65-kg champion in Grade 12 and the runner-up at 65 kg last year and 62 kg in 2015.
The slight increase in weight divisions from junior to juvenile for McDougall played somewhat of a role in the overall 63-kg standings.
“The guy that had beat me had come down from 70 kilos and if the weight category had been 60 then I don’t think he would’ve been there.”
McDougall is still undecided whether to wrestle at 60 or 65 kg next weekend in phase one of the provincial trials for the Canada Summer Games, July 28 to Aug. 13 in Winnipeg, but is confident he will qualify.
“I have a pretty good chance.”