MEXICO CITY – Wilfrid Laurier University men’s football offensive lineman Alex Pigozzo will enter his second season with the Golden Hawks as a gold medalist after helping Team Canada win the 2018 IFAF U19 World Championship this past Sunday.
Pigozzo, a native of Kitchener, Ont., played a key role with the red and white down in Mexico as Canada knocked off the host country 13-7 in front of close to 25,000 fans at Olympic Stadium.
“It was really incredible,” said Pigozzo on the victory, which saw Canada become the first country to win back-to-back championships in the event’s history. “Watching those last few seconds tick off was thrilling and then we sprinted out onto the field as a team for a giant celebration. It was very cool to soak in that moment with the entire team.”
After rotating through every position on the offensive line in Canada’s first two games, victories over Sweden and Japan, Pigozzo saw plenty of time at centre in the gold medal game after an injury to one of his teammates. His play helped Canada sustain a number of late game drives, which sealed the six-point win.
“We are extremely happy for Alex that he gets to wear a gold medal around his neck after being a big part in Team Canada’s championship win down in Mexico City,” said Laurier head coach Michael Faulds. “This is great timing for him, as it will give him even more confidence as he enters his second training camp here at Laurier in a couple weeks.”
While Pigozzo admits that the victory will give him confidence, he knows he still has his work cut out for him as he tries to become a regular on Laurier’s offensive line in his sophomore year after appearing in two games as a rookie.
“It definitely gives me a boost knowing that I’ve had this great accomplishment while representing Canada. I am excited to bring this winning attitude with me to camp, as it will help me compete and push my teammates to be better. That being said, Laurier is a different level of football and I still want to be humble and prove myself to my Laurier coaches.”
Pigozzo will only have a few weeks to recover before the Golden Hawks open up camp with the team’s first on-field practice happening on Friday, August 10.