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.”