After a two-year hiatus secondary school rugby is back and the Lake City Secondary School girls’ team is ready to roll.
Coach Morley Wilson said the team will host a home tournament on Thursday, April 14 at the Williams Lake Campus field.
Teams from Houston, Nechako Valley, 100 Mile House and possibly Prince George will attend.
“We’ve got students from Grades 8 through 12 on the team,” Wilson said, adding while they didn’t get to play any games during the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C. the players continued to practice.
Players trained with Wilson on Mondays and on Wednesdays participated in an inter-squad flag league.
Those practices kept the program together and had 30 to 35 girls attending regularly.
Last fall some of the team members travelled to St. Albert outside of Edmonton, Alta. on the Labour Day weekend to play in a tournament and Wilson said they did well.
New this year, girls rugby is now part of B.C. School Sports.
“Girls rugby used to be on its own,” Wilson explained, noting when he arrived in Williams Lake to teach in 1989, boys rugby was already part of B.C. School Sports.
With that designation, there is a little less freedom and more rules to follow, with no exceptions.
For example, if a new player moves to town she cannot play on the team for a year which is to prevent schools from recruiting players.
Aside from the home tournament on April 14, which will go from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Williams Lake team will travel to 100 Mile House for a jamboree on Friday, April 29, to Kamloops for a tournament on May 7 and 8, and then to zones in Vanderhoof on May 13 and 14.
Provincials are being held in Abbotsford on June 2 and 3.
Of the 32 players on the team, there are eight grade 12s and one of them, Grace Turner, has been invited to play for the University of British Columbia next fall.
“I also have a lot of grade 10s,” Wilson said and described all the players as “super keen” with “lots of speed,” and “lots of dedication.”
Grade 7 students can attend practices but cannot play in tournaments because there is a five-year rule meaning if they started in Grade 7 they would not be permitted to play in Grade 12.
The public is encouraged to come out and cheer the local players on Thursday, April 14.