It’s not too often that a school can go from not having a team in a sport one year to having a full team the next, full of potential. The NPSS girls rugby team features all rookies, but that hasn’t stopped the group from learning the sport as quickly as possible in March and April, to the point that they’re already excelling.
The team was in Williams Lake April 6 and 7 for a pre-season rugby sevens tournament. Having never played an actual game, the girls were rightfully overlooked, but the team, and coach Mark Rogers, believed in themselves, and showed they had what it takes.
They were competitive in all their games, scoring three or more tries each game, though actual scores and records weren’t kept.
“The girls played really really well, and I had other coaches coming up to me saying, ‘Those are all rookies? You have to be kidding me,’” Rogers said.
In fact, the team hadn’t practiced on grass until they played in Williams Lake. The team played so well that Grade 10 outfielder Adarah May was asked to play a half of rugby with some of the girls representing Zone 8 at provincials. Afterwards, the coaches asked her to be a part of the Zone 8 provincial team, and she is currently in Vancouver for the B.C. Girls High School Rugby Association Provincials.
“It was awesome. I was shocked at first, and wasn’t sure if they were talking to me,” said May.
May had never played before, and was unfamiliar with the sport. That goes for all the girls on the team. Captain Reilli Petersen, Grade 12, had no prior experience in sports, but knew she wanted to be a part of a community like this in her final year, and the result has been better than she could have imagined.
“I’ve never worked with better girls. We’re working to hard to be the best we can on the field, and we play so well together,” Petersen said.
Though Petersen won’t be able to play next year, she, along with May and Rodgers, think it’s important for NPSS and Fort St. John to have a strong girls rugby program and hope it continues to grow.
“I want to see a lot more girls try out next year. It’s super beneficial, you create a family and life-long friends,” May said.
“Sports are huge in Fort St. John, but there’s never been a full, girls rugby team before here so it’s really important it keeps going,” Petersen said.
The team played their first league game on Wednesday, April 24, after press time. The NPSS boys rugby team played as well.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.