Two local rugby players are returning home from the Pan American Games rich with medals and richer for the experience.
Calgary’s Piper Logan was a key member of Canada’s silver-medal winning women’s crew, while Okotoks’ Thomas Isherwood brought back a bronze medal from the Canadian men’s effort in Santiago, Chile.
“The experience was great,” Isherwood told Postmedia. “Pretty unique playing for your country at a multi-sport event such as the Pan Ams. Being in the village around all the other sports and athletes is something that doesn’t happen often.
“Our expectations were to go for a medal,” continued Isherwood. “Canada has managed to play in the final a few times, and we wanted to carry on that tradition. We have a good group of players, and we feel like that’s something we could achieve.”
While that happened for Piper, a star with the Calgary Hornets and the UBC Thunderbirds, and the Canadian women, as they made their way to the final where they lost 19-12 to the Americans, it wasn’t the same for the men.
Unfortunately, they fell short of the gold-medal match but dug out bronze with a 19-17 win Saturday over the United States at Estadio Municipal La Pintana.
To reach the medal round, Canada’s women went perfect in the group stage, running roughshod over host Chile 36-0 and Mexico 69-0 before defeating Brazil 29-21.
Meanwhile, the Canadian men went 2-1 in the group stage, topping Brazil 22-12 and Mexico 42-5 but losing to the Americans 19-5.
The Canadians then lost the semifinal 21-7 to Argentina before exacting revenge on the Americans in to earn bronze.
The gold went to Argentina after it downed host Chile 24-5 in the championship match.
“I grew up in England playing rugby before moving to Canada,” added Isherwood, of Foothills Lions RFC. “I’ve represented Alberta throughout age-grade, as well as some under-18 7s and 15s Canada. I moved back to England to play some semi-pro before getting invited back to Canada to play with the under-20 Canadian men at the world trophy. And then I got my first contract with the senior men’s 7s team.
“Now, I’m going into my third season. I’ve competed at a Rugby 7s World Cup and Pan American Games and have 20 tournaments on the World Series.”
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