The remarkable road trip continues this weekend for G.P. Vanier rugby players Madi Gold and Lauren Sargent.
The talented duo helped the BC Rugby U18 Girls Elite team to a second-place finish in the Las Vegas Invitational 7s tournament on Feb. 12-13.
Gold was on the BC U18 Girls team that won the High School Invitational division last year, scoring a try in the team’s 32-10 win over Atlantis in the final. This year B.C. posted a 3-3 record. They opened Thursday with losses f 24-15 to Girls HS All American 2 and 26-24 to Edmonton Gold before beating the Lady Stallions 40-0. On Friday, they beat Edmontnb Gold 27-0 in the Cup quarter-final and Oregion 10-5 in the Cup semifinal before losing 24-0 to Ontario 1 in the Cup final.
“We (sent) a group of very talented athletes that have the potential to repeat as tournament winners,” said BC U18 coach Darcy Patterson. “They believe they can win and that is the ultimate goal for us this tournament.
“They all have a very high work ethic and work hard to be the best rugby players they can. It is going to be exciting to see how their hard work over the last few weeks transfers into the tournament.”
Gold and Sargent helped Vanier win the 2013 B.C. AAA high school girls championship, and were selected by the Dog River Howlers to accompany them on a trip to Colombia in December 2014. Along with playing in a 7s tournament, the Saskatchewan-based Howlers (known for their charitable efforts) took rugby gear and money to donate to the community of Medellin.
“Both Madi and Lauren have worked hard to develop their skills over the past few years and that hard work is now getting recognized at higher levels,” said Vanier girls rugby coach Dwayne Mills.
“Their success with the Dog River Howlers has helped them get some experience at the international level and hopefully that will lead to success in Vegas,” Mills said. “Now that they are both Grade 12 athletes, they will be relied upon by the Team BC coaches to provide leadership both on and off the field, and I am confident that they will be able to.”
Mills said the Howlers’ trip to Colombia was a success for Gold and Sargent. “They learned a lot about the rugby community and how it has a willingness to help those in need and to support rugby players whatever their background is. They definitely came back as different players and people due to their experiences down there,” Mills added.
The road trip for Gold and Sargent will resume March 29 to April 8 when the Vanier team makes its first-ever tour to California. “We will play some of the top teams in girls rugby along the West Coast,” Mills said.
“It will be a great trip. We are taking 23 girls, and a surprisingly high number of them have never been outside of Canada,” the coach added.
Still on the road, but closer to home, Sargent and Gold and their Vanier teammates will be in Victoria for the B.C. high school 7s championship on April 17-18, the same time as the International Women’s 7s tournament.
“Some of the top girls teams will play in the finals during the international tournament, which will be the highest level of women’s 7s rugby in the world. It will be a great experience for our girls to be a part of,” Mills said.
THROW INS The Las Vegas Invitational 7s tournament is run in conjunction with the USA Sevens stop of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series, which takes place Feb. 13-15 in Las Vegas … at last year’s Vegas tourney, Trevor Caton of Vanier was on the BC U18 boys team that won silver in the High School Elite division …