Bayside Rugby Club is front and centre at this week’s 2013 National Championship Festival in Vancouver, as numerous players from the club are donning Team BC uniforms.
Bayside is best represented at the U18 division – in both men’s and women’s tournaments.
Team BC’s U18 men’s side includes Baysiders Cali Martinez, Drew Coles, Tim Stephens, Nick Wright, Joseph Carter, Matt Gallagher, Nick Collett, Christian Haldane, Andrew O’Connor and Gavin Rowell. Earl Marriott Secondary’s Thomas Choi is also on the team.
Don Wright is also the U18 squad’s manager, and Andy Blackburn will be with the team as an assistant coach.
The national championships began Monday and run until Aug. 11 at the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Park.
The U18 boys will be seeking a third consecutive national title; they open the tourney Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. against Alberta, whom they defeated 40-16 in the title game last year.
“There is some real parity in the U18 rugby competition this year with Quebec emerging as a top side, Ontario always posing a challenge and with Alberta proving to be a tough team,” said head coach Jeff Williams.
The provincial women’s team, meanwhile, is also stacked with local talent, as Nikolina Boundy, Jade Elidoros, Alexa Martin, April Martin, Alex Mueller and Lael Ross are all on the roster that was announced by Rugby BC on Aug. 1.
Last year’s U18 women’s team placed third at nationals, and seven players on this year’s roster are returnees, including Boundy, Elidoros, April Martin and Mueller.
“Alex Mueller will be a key player for us in the backs. (She) can play anywhere in the back line which will be useful at nationals when we play as many games as we do,” said head coach Brad Baker.
Bayside will also have one player on Team BC’s U16 boys entry at nationals, as Keenan Houde will suit up for the provincial side.
At the U14 level, B.C.’s boys team will feature Bayside’s Thomas Blackburn, Quinton Brown, Trevor Kovits, Sean Short, Peter Mittermaier, Jaxon MacMillan, Tighe Andreou, Valen Garcia, Ronan Clark and Tarm Hrnykiw.
For more on the tournament, visit www.nationalfestivalrugby.com