Five athletes from the Cowichan Valley helped B.C. teams win the inaugural girls and boys Canadian rugby sevens U18 championships at BC Place last Saturday.
The girls team included McKenna Haz and Denise Roy, both students at Brentwood College School, while the boys team included Kyle Joe of Cowichan Secondary School, William McDougall-Percillier of Brentwood College, and Evan Norris of Shawnigan Lake School. Joe and McDougall-Percillier are also members of the Cowichan Rugby Football Club.
The B.C. girls allowed only one try in the tournament, and won the championship game over Alberta by a score of 17-0. The boys beat Ontario 17-5 in their championship match.
While the players warmed up for their games, the Canadian senior men’s sevens side was taking on Wales, and the B.C. athletes got to see Pat Kay, a Duncan native and product of both the CRFC and Cowichan Secondary School, and a graduate of the BC Rugby Elite Youth 7s program, score Canada’s first sevens try on Canadian soil.
All the Valley players who represented B.C. at the national championships in Vancouver were also at the Las Vegas Sevens — the largest rugby tournament in North America — a week earlier, where B.C. captured four cup championships.
Haz and Roy helped B.C. to the title in the U18 Girls Varsity Division in the first year that B.C has fielded a girls sevens team. Roy scored one of her team’s three tries in a 19-7 win over the Atavus All-Stars, a team of athletes from across the U.S., in the final match.
“It’s an incredible accomplishment for a provincial program to beat a team drawn from an entire country,” Haz said.
Joe and Norris were part of the B.C. team that won the U18 Elite Boys Division for the second consecutive year, and former CRFC junior player Kara Galbraith helped B.C.’s U23 team to a first-ever title in the Women’s Open Division.
Avi Sharabi of Brentwood and Maggie Banks of Shawnigan went to Vegas as part of the B.C. team that competed in the U18 Girls Open Division. McDougall-Percillier and his Brentwood teammate Lucas Portillo and Shawnigan’s Conor Sinclair played for B.C. in the U17 Boys High School Open Division.
Shawnigan’s Reece Tudor-Jones, James MacDonald and Carter Miller, and Brentwood’s Ciaran Breen played for B.C. in the U16 Boys Junior Varsity Division. Brentwood grad Aaron Hersant played for the U23 provincial team in the Men’s Aces Division.