Kristin Johnson of Black Creek, right, will be playing rugby next year at UBC with Madi Gold, left, who captains the T-Birds squad. Photo supplied

Kristin Johnson of Black Creek, right, will be playing rugby next year at UBC with Madi Gold, left, who captains the T-Birds squad. Photo supplied

Vanier rugby player advancing to varsity level

Another women’s rugby player from the Comox Valley is advancing to the varsity level.

Kristin Johnson of Black Creek, a Grade 12 at Vanier Secondary, has signed a letter of intent to play for the UBC Thunderbirds next year.

Along with Vanier, Johnson has played rugby with the North Island Tsunami RFC, the BC Bears and the Celtic Barbarians RFC.

The Tsunami is comprised of Island players north of Mill Bay. They play at the Provincial Regional Championships each summer. The BC Bears are age-grade Rugby BC teams, identified through scouts and tryouts. They play at western Canadian, nationals and other select tournaments. The Celtic Barbarians are a club that builds elite age-grade teams from players picked from across North America to compete at select stops in the North American Invitational Tournament series in the U.S., and other tournaments and arrangements within Canada and abroad.

The Vanier girls have earned top ranking three of the past five years in B.C., and second and fourth during the same period. Johnson played on the triple-A championship team in 2015, alongside Madi Gold of Merville, who now captains the UBC squad. They will reunite this summer in Ireland on a UBC tour, and play together in the fall.

In the New Year, Johnson and other players hope to visit some elementary schools to spark girls’ curiosity in the sport. Vanier and Isfeld both field girls’ rugby teams for the high school season that runs January to June. Girls can also play locally with the Comox Valley Kickers.

If you’d like to purchase a $20 raffle ticket to help fund the UBC tour to Ireland, email gjcjsjkj@hotmail.com with T-Birds Ireland in the subject line. The prize is a four-day all-inclusive trip for two to the Langara Fishing Lodge in Haida Gwaii.