Comox Valley GP Vanier alumnae - Captain of the UBC T-Birds, Madi Gold (4th year) from Merville (L), and Kristin Johnson (1st year) from Black Creek. Photo by Busola Adeyinka.

Comox Valley rugby players help UBC Thunderbirds win school’s first-ever Canwest championship

A couple of former Vanier Towhees helped the UBC Thunderbirds achieve their first-ever CanWest women’s rugby championship, Sunday, Oct. 20 in Lethbridge.

Comox Valley GP Vanier alumnae Madi Gold (4th year) from Merville, and Kristin Johnson (1st year) from Black Creek both play on the team. Gold is the captain of the team this year.

To secure a berth at the championships the T-Birds had to gather sufficient points through the regular season playing other varsity teams in the CanWest division, which includes teams from UBC, UVic, University of Calgary, University of Alberta, and the University of Lethbridge.

After losing their first two games of the season to the UVic Vikes and the U of C Dinos, the T-Birds women picked up the pace and won all of their remaining regular-season games securing a spot, the third of four, at the CanWest Championships hosted by the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

Going into the CanWest finals the UBC team was ranked third with a 3-2 regular-season record.

That ranking was somewhat deceptive, as the TBirds boasted the top offence, and the second-stingiest defence in the conference.

It the playoffs, the TBirds beat No. 2-ranked Vikes, 21-19, to send them to their first championship since 2006.

UBC then capped the championship season by defeating the top-ranked, defending champion Dinos, 26-12.

“The first half we were making lots and lots of errors and couldn’t get our game going,” said UBC head Coach Dean Murten. “Second half we just needed to calm down a bit and relax, it is the first time this group has played in the Canada West finals.

“Once we got over the nerves, we relaxed and started moving the ball and played some outstanding rugby.”

The T-Birds are headed to Canadian U-Sport Nationals in OttawaOct. 30-Nov. 3 to compete for the national title against the championship teams from each of the other Canadian university women’s rugby divisions.

–With files from Canadawest.org

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