For the second year in a row a Williams Lake rugby player is headed off to play for the University of British Columbia women’s team.
Williams Lake Secondary School 2023 graduate Maya Nowotny will be joining Grace Turner who started playing at UBC last fall.
“I’m so excited it keeps me up at night,” Maya told the Tribune. “It will be fun to experience something new.”
She and Grace have been friends since they were babies and also joining her on campus will be another one of her childhood best friends, Marin Jorgensen, who moved from Williams Lake to Vancouver Island in Grade 3.
Marin will be playing on UBC’s women’s softball team.
As a child, Maya played soccer and swam with the Blue Fins in Williams Lake until Christmas in Grade 8 when she heard over the announcements and saw on some posters in the school the rugby program was looking for players.
“I fell in love with it,” she recalled of her first impressions. “I think it is the high-intensity, and the game can change so fast so it’s always interesting.”
Aside from playing for secondary school, she played club rugby and in 2022 played for the Thompson Okanagan Rugby Alliance (TORA) and is doing that again this year.
The weekend of July 7 she played at the provincial championships, where TORA came third.
She is hoping to get picked for Team BC to play at a tournament in Calgary in late July.
Playing for UBC was something Maya did not think was an option for her as she was just playing for fun, but through TORA she was encouraged to pursue playing for a university team.
“I really like rugby and decided I’d give it a shot. I wanted to keep playing and take it to a higher level.”
While attending UBC she plans to pursue a degree in kinesiology.
There has been a bit of a wrench in her plans because this year she attended the RCMP Youth Academy in Williams Lake on spring break and thinks she may want to become a police officer.
Describing the academy as “so fun,” she said she enjoyed all of the scenarios and never knowing what to expect.
“Everyone that came there and talked to us seemed really happy about their job.”
Her first rugby camp for UBC starts Aug. 27 for three days in Whistler.
There will also be a two-week camp before school starts for assessing all the players to pick the varsity team.
For the rest of the summer she will continue to work at Fox Mountain Brewery where she started last September.
When she’s not working or playing rugby she enjoys mountain biking, disc golf and keeping in shape by doing cross-fit five days a week at Total Ice.
She also plays the fiddle and was part of the Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society until a few years ago, although she continued to play with Ebony, a smaller group of youth players from the society.
During the COVID-19 pandemic she taught herself how to play the piano.
Along with other local athletes she is helping out with the rookie rugby program for children presently underway Monday evenings in Williams Lake.