Williams Lake’s Kayla Moleschi and Canada’s women’s sevens rugby team made history Sunday becoming the first-ever Pan American Games women’s champions.
Canada throttled the U.S., 55-7, in front of 20,000 fans at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium in the inaugural tournament to claim the gold medal after two days of competition.
The team went unbeaten in six games, outscoring their opposition 285-19.
Moleschi is currently travelling with the Canadian side to Brazil to tour the venue of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio and was unavailable for comment at press time, however, said via her Facebook page she couldn’t be happier.
“So incredibly proud of this amazing team and family that I am so lucky to be a part of,” said Moleschi, who played her high school rugby at Columneetza secondary.
“I love my teammates and staff so much … feeling so amazing!”
Canada opened the tournament on day one with a 55-0 win over Colombia, a 60-0 hammering of Mexico and a 36-0 defeat of Brazil.
On day two Canada blanked Argentina 45-0, then beat the U.S. 34-12 in a meaningless match as the two teams had already qualified for the final.
In the championship, Moleschi’s tenacious defence and massive hits setup multiple tries for the Canadians.
The U.S. struck first to go up 7-0, however, Canada controlled the play the rest of the match, pinning the U.S. in their own end.
“I’d say this was probably the best performance of our year,” said Canadian head coach John Tait.
“We were clinical after the U.S. scored that first try against us in the final. We just settled down and took a deep breath.”
Tait added the Pan Am Games were an amazing atmosphere.
“It was very, very loud and passionate at Exhibition Stadium,” he said.
“We talked about it before the game, about the boost we were going to get from the crowd and channeling our emotions, and making sure we were really communicating with one another out there on the pitch.
“We’ve played in front of big crowds before, but usually allegiances are split. Today, it was all Canada, and it gave us a big boost.”
Canada then went on to win double gold in rugby sevens after the Canadian men defeated Argentina 22-19 in the final.
For reaction from Moleschi see a future edition of the Williams Lake Tribune/Weekend Advisor.