Williams Lake rugby players (front from left) Alexis Myhre

Williams Lake rugby players (front from left) Alexis Myhre

Locals to play at rugby nationals

Williams Lake will have strong representation this summer, Aug. 16-21, when the 2011 Canadian National Rugby Championships roll into Calgary.

Williams Lake will have strong representation this summer, Aug. 16-21, when the 2011 Canadian National Rugby Championships roll into Calgary.

Five players from Williams Lake were recently chosen to represent Team B.C.’s under 18 club at nationals after a grueling two-day tryout session in North Vancouver early June.

Williams Lake secondary’s Alexis Myhre, Erica Pfleiderer and Melanie Dallow and Columneetza secondary’s Jasmyn Niquidet and Jaime Carrier were chosen as five of 29 players from a field of 60 girls attempting to make the cut.

“It was very competitive [this year’s tryouts],” Pfleiderer said. “It was very skilled and everyone there was in it to win it.”

Back coaching this year’s U18 Team B.C. team are Carson Graham secondary rugby coaches Brad Baker and Rick Pimlott. Joining them to manage the team is Capilano Rugby Football Club’s women’s coach Asuka Kusano.

Pfleiderer, Dallow, Niquidet and Carrier also recently competed at the Provincial Regional Championships (PRC) two weeks ago at Vancouver’s Thunderbird Stadium where they were further scouted on their fitness and skill. Myhre sat out the tournament with an injury.

“And this Saturday we start our first training sessions [with Team B.C.] and we go from July 23-27,” Myhre said, noting prior to fitness training sessions, which needed to be recorded and reported to Kusano, were mandatory.

On Aug. 12 the quintet will travel back to Vancouver for another four-day training session with Team B.C., before the nationals kick off Aug. 16 in Calgary.

“This year’s nationals feature 10 provinces,” Myhre said, adding the competition and skill level will be very high.

“Two years ago there were only five provinces,” Pfleiderer added.

For Myhre, this will be her third year competing as a member of Team B.C., while Pfleiderer is in her second year with the club.

Niquidet, Carrier and Dallow are each competing for their first time on the national stage.

All but Niquidet, who is entering Grade 11 next year, are heading into their Grade 12 seasons at their respective schools.

Team B.C. is slated to take on Quebec in its opener on Aug. 16, before playing Nova Scotia in game two, Newfoundland in game three and Ontario No. 2 in its final round robin contest.

As for what to expect come nationals, the group said there will be some extremely strong teams competing.

“Ontario is usually very strong, as is B.C., Quebec and Alberta,” Myhre said. “Those are usually the top four.”

To top it all off, the group was awarded $200 each from the Williams Lake Rugby Bursary Fund Wednesday, used to help local athletes with travelling costs.

For more on the 2011 Canadian National Rugby Championship see a future edition of the Tribune.