Williams Lake may have another future rugby star on its hands.
Seventeen-year-old Carrie Lange recently earned a gold medal helping Team BC earn national bragging rights by winning the U-18 Canadian Rugby Championship.
The tournament was held August 16-20 in Markham, Ontario just outside Toronto.
“It felt great to win and is definitely the highlight of my rugby career so far,” said Lange.
“The difference in competition from high school to national level was very noticeable. In high school you always have time to think before you react and at this tournament the speed is so fast you have little or no time to make a decision.”
Playing both the lock and head prop positions she helped BC to a 3-1 (win-loss) record and top spot at the five-team tournament.
After convincing opening wins over Quebec 42-0 and Nova Scotia 56-14, BC dropped their third game 24-20 to a tough Ontario squad.
“We really underestimated Ontario and thought it was going to be easy,” said Lange.
In game four BC battled the Wolf Pack, a joint squad combining Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The Wolf Pack were undefeated having defeated Ontario earlier in the tourney and a BC win would create a three-way tie for first place with Wolf Pack, Ontario and BC all level with 3-1 records.
BC emerged victorious 8-5 in what was a very low scoring game.
“It was one of those games where so many times it felt like a team was going to score and then they’d get tackled right at the end,” said Lange.
Due to bonus points for tie-breaking procedures BC finished in first place and were crowned champions. Carrie who is a stalwart on the Lake City Secondary Falcons rugby squad, was noticed by Team BC head coach Marius Felix at the high school provincial rugby championships this past May. Lake City placed third at the event and lost in the semi final to eventual champions Brentwood College (Victoria area) where Felix is also the coach.
“My coach, Morley Wilson, and Marius exchanged contact info and I was invited to first play in a tournament in Shawnighan Lake and then went to the tryout camp in Brentwood,” said Lange.
The multiple trips to Vancouver Island paid off for Lange who looks to be well on her way to playing post secondary rugby. Lange, 17, is entering Grade 12 this fall and has one more year left of high school rugby before making the jump to university.
“I definitely want to play CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) level rugby and there are three schools in B.C. that offer it so I’m looking at going to one of them,” said Lange.
Carrie has only been playing rugby for three years, starting out as a Grade 9 on her high school team.
Her steady progression in the sport she credits to her love of rugby.
“I love everything about the sport, not just the sport itself but being a part of the team and the bonds and friendships you make off the field are a big part of it,” said Lange.
Lange also got to watch hometown rugby hero Kayla Moleschi at the Rio Olympics to help inspire her.
“During our U-18 tryouts we played the American U-18 team in Seattle while Kayla was playing at the Olympics so I was following her games closely on my CBC App,” said Lange.