The face of high school sports has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn’t stop the Lake City Falcons girls rugby team from making the most of an unfortunate situation.
Players grades 7-11, split onto three teams, took to the Columneetza Campus field Wednesday afternoon to settle who would take home the championship in this year’s ‘flag rugby season.’
Due to rules and regulations outlined by the province and governing sport bodies, school sports teams are currently allowed to practice in B.C., but games between different schools are not permitted, and all zone and provincial championships have been cancelled. Minor sports teams, meanwhile, are allowed to play games in four-team cohorts under current regulations.
Suited up in classic Williams Lake secondary black and red, the Black Widows, the Pink Leprechauns — wearing new LCSS black and pink rugby jerseys — and the Baddest Bleeps, dressed in the current LCSS colours, squared off in a playoff-style format with semifinals and finals to wrap up the season.
“We decided to do flag rugby because it minimizes contact, there’s some distancing — we’re not doing scrums or rucks — so it becomes more of a passing game with the flags,” said flag rugby head coach Morley Wilson, noting sanitization measures also needed to be followed.
Wilson held practices twice a week on Mondays and Wednesday in September, then moved to one game day and one training session per week as the season progressed.
“Kids played two games each day through the season. We kept stats, kept records and I think the kids had a lot of fun with it,” Wilson said. “It worked out pretty well. It’s a drag we couldn’t have a regular rugby [fall] season, but it is what it is.”
On Wednesday, the second-place Black Widows, who finished the season with four wins and four losses, and the Baddest Bleeps — one win, seven losses — took to the pitch in semifinal action where the Black Widows came out on top in a 25-12 contest.
Following, and in the flag rugby championship, the first-place Pink Leprechauns, who lost just one game and won seven during regular season play, seemed poised to bring home the title, however, in “the upset of the year,” the Black Widows gutted out a 30-22 victory.
For their efforts the team picked up the flag rugby season trophy and were gifted sport bags. Kalli Campbell of the Black Widows, meanwhile, was presented the overall season scoring championship and a Hulk trophy for her efforts.
Moving forward with high school sports for the remainder of the school year, Wilson said due to SD27’s shift into a quarter system, sports have been split into four quarters. At the Columneetza Campus, in quarter one, rugby, volleyball and boys soccer are wrapping up. Quarter two will see girls basketball and badminton played, followed by boys basketball and wrestling in the third quarter.
The fourth and final quarter will house girls soccer, rugby and, potentially, track and field.
“Our 15-a-side rugby season would normally be in the spring,” Wilson said. “The girls are hoping we are able to play some games, but I’m not overly optimistic that’s going to happen at this point. If that’s the case we will probably run another flag season in the spring.”