Lakecity rugby players Kaitlyn Berkelaar (from left)

Lakecity rugby players Kaitlyn Berkelaar (from left)

Rugby players return from PRCs

There was no shortage of representation from the Cariboo late June when 10 players travelled to Burnaby as part of team Thompson-Okanagan.

There was no shortage of representation from the Cariboo late June when 10 players travelled to Burnaby as part of team Thompson-Okanagan for the B2Gold Provincial Regional Championships where both teams marched away with silver medals.

On the Thompson-Okanagan under-18 regional 15-a-side team were Kaitlyn Berkelaar, Carleigh Walters, Laura Pfleiderer, Emma Pfleiderer, Skye Forcier, Madison Blusson and Carrie Lange.

Representing the under-16 side were Emma Feldinger, Ayme Desmond and Molly Lamb.

In the under-18 girls final the Thompson-Okanagan, after beating Vancouver 45-24, falling 22-10 to the Fraser Valley, then beating Vancouver Island 22-10 in the semifinal, settled for the silver medal after a 12-0 loss to Fraser Valley.

The under-16 girls beat Vancouver 24-12, North Vancouver Island 81-0 and Vancouver Island 15-10 before dropping a 44-0 decision to a tough Fraser Valley squad.

Thompson-Okanagan coach Andy Vankuyk of Kamloops said both teams went above and beyond at the tournament.

“Both teams did fantastic,” Vankuyk said. “The under-16s, after finishing last last year not winning a game and coming back this year barely losing any games was phenomenal.

“On the under-18 side we had high expectations and we knew the talent that we had and knew that they would finish top two. We almost came out with the gold and I think if we had more time to play together we could have done that.”

Of the Williams Lake players, Vankuyk said he couldn’t have asked for a better effort.

“The Williams Lake girls are fantastic,” he said, noting Laura Pfleiderer, who graduated last month from Lake City Secondary School, was named as the under-18 team captain. “They were phenomenal. They always are and they’re great leaders.”

“And, of course, her sister [Emma Pfleiderer] is a powerhouse. One is fast the other is brute force. We had quite a few this year from Williams Lake who came, showed up, stood out and I couldn’t have asked for anything different.”

The PRCs featured more than 600 players in both boys and girls divisions across under-14 to under-18 age categories at the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club.

Moving into Team BC camps this summer, Vankyuk said several lakecity players should be receiving invites.

“I’m sure a lot will make those teams right alongside Thompson-Okanagan players and we’ll have good support from the north this year which will be good,” he said. “We’re going to be strong.”