Local players help B.C. bring home medals from national championships

B.C. gets five medals in four divisions

Teams from B.C. brought home five medals from the Canadian Rugby Championships in Calgary last week, and Cowichan Valley products played a role in the success of all the provincial teams.

BC Rugby teams claimed silver in the U18 and U16 men’s and U16 women’s divisions, and bronze in the U18 women’s and U16 men’s divisions.

The B.C. U17 boys team finished second in the U18 division, falling 29-26 to Alberta’s U18 side in the final. Cowichan Rugby Football Club players Owen Cumming and Zephyr Melnyk played for the B.C. U17s. Cumming also attends Shawnigan Lake School, while Melnyk is a student at Nanaimo District Secondary.

The B.C. U16A boys team also lost to Alberta in their final, by a score of 34-29. That team was loaded with local talent, including captain Nathan Goliath, assistant captain Ciaran Breen and Brenner Kelava, all of Shawnigan Lake School. Breen and Kelava also play for the CRFC, along with Brentwood’s Matt McDougall-Percillier and Jacob Bossi, and Ladysmith’s Nick Joe.

Also claiming silver was B.C.’s U16 girls side, which lost 27-10 to the Ontario Blues in their final. Shawnigan players Mikayla Brennan-McCann (also of the CRFC) and Samatha Lillywhite helped that team to second place.

The B.C. U16B boys team took bronze, beating the B.C. U15 boys team 55-14 in the third-place game. Blake Cleasby (Brentwood/CRFC), Joel Cook (Brentwood/CRFC) and Logan Kits (Cowichan Secondary) were on the U16 B team, and Jamin Hodgkins (Shawnigan/CRFC) and Aidan Kirkham (Ladysmith/CRFC) were on the U15 roster.

The B.C. U17 girls team, including Shawnigan’s Hazel Bice and Taylynn Smid of Cowichan Secondary, bested Ontario 60-5 to take bronze in the U18 women’s division.

The senior men’s national championship was held in Calgary at the same time, and won 30-29 by the BC Bears over the Ontario Blues, the first time since 2009 that the Bears have won the MacTier Cup. Guiseppe Du Toit kicked three conversions and three penalties for the Bears in the final, and fellow Shawnigan grad Dustin Dobravsky also got into the action for B.C.