For the fourth year in a row, the Abbotsford U-18 women's rugby team have won the BC Provincial Championships. The ladies toppled the combined Castaway Wanders and Velox team from the island 73-0 to claim the title. With this win, the ladies capped off an amazing undefeated season in the Women's U-18 league.
Impressively, the ladies hit another astonishing milestone this season. In an unprecedented decision to start the season, the ladies also competed in the Women's Div 2 league in the fall. The women also excelled in this league and finished first with a +301 points for/against record.
With over 30 talented and committed ladies, the coaches wanted to take every step possible to ensure the players got enough playing time and competition to improve and develop throughout the season. They certainly demonstrated their talent and commitment to execellence by finishing the fall season at the top of both leagues.
Coach Jen Ross expressed how fortunate she feels to have worked with such an amazing bunch of young women. These ladies from grades 9-12 hail from 9 different schools in the surrounding area and scored well over 1000 points throughout the season. She expressed gratitude to the parents who care, give, drive, laugh, and love this entire group. In particular, she thanks Poi Levale, Dave and Alison Carson, Amber Garrett, Jake and Josh Thiel, and club president Chris Farley for their massive contributions to the on and off field success of the girls.
Coach Ross also noted that it has been the best of years, but also the absolute worst with the passing of senior player Chantal MacLean and her boyfriend Cody Kehler in a tragic car accident during the season. The team is there for the MacLean family who continue to amaze everyone with their strength and grace, and continue to be there for the team. Chantal is missed immensely and the girls were so proud to honor her memory with such a successful season.
Though the fall leagues are done, the team will still be functioning with a bottle drive on January 3rd, a tour to California in March, and a training session with Dr. Maria Gallo, head coach of UBC, in January prior to U-18 Vegas trials. Several of the local ladies will also be travelling with coach Ross and Cornell to Japan at the end of April to attend the Sanix World 7's Youth Championships. The girls will also go on to their school seasons in the spring, as well as PRC's and Nationals in the summer. These girls just don't stop!
The U-18 Women graduate several players this year who will be moving on to the U-20 and senior women's levels. Many of these ladies have been playing for Abby U-18 since grade 9 and will be truly missed. Congratulations to all of the ARFC U-18 Graduates: Autumn Garrett, Gabi V-Ehling, Kadeja White, Sydney Stoltz, Faith Finnis, Rachelle Wenting, Cass Baldo, Chrissa Perez, Katrina Moorthy, Vienna del Espino, Natalya del Espino, Marley Lightfoot, Keera Grabbe, Morgan Walker, Nakisa Levale, Cyprys Wales, and Beth Hand.
Despite the large number of graduating players, coach Ross says not to worry - the future of ARFC U-18 rugby is strong! A new bunch of girls are ready to step up and lead the way forward.
Congratulations on a great season ladies! For pictures from the final, please visit this link to our pictures page.