The Semiahmoo Totems’ senior girls rugby team may not have finished on the podium at B.C. High School AAA Rugby Championships, but the weekend provided plenty of positives nonetheless.
The Totems finished fourth overall – they were the No. 4 seed heading into the tournament – and impressed their coaches with their resilience, despite being one of the youngest teams at the event, which was hosted at Capilano University in North Vancouver.
“You get to this point in the season, and everybody has injuries. We played without five starters, but the girls showed up every day, battled hard and gave it everything they had,” said Dave Kaye, who co-coached the team alongside Frank Ellestad. “We were impressed.”
Semiahmoo was one of three South Surrey teams to have qualified for B.C.’s – Earl Marriott and Elgin Park also went in as top-eight seeds.
Elgin Park – who finished second at provincials last spring – were fifth this time around, while EMS ended up eighth.
“It was a pretty good result for everybody,” said Kaye.
The tournament was won by Courtenay’s G.P. Vanier Towhees, who took the title for the second year in a row.
En route to their fourth-place finish, the Totems defeated their crosstown rival Mariners, 17-5 in the opening game, before losing to Vanier 48-5 in the second round.
Vanier had advanced past the first round after a win over Elgin Park.
“They were clearly the best team out there (at provincials),” said Kaye. “They were bigger and more experienced than us, and you can’t really have answer for that.”
Having all three South Surrey teams at provincials was an achievement in itself, and it was the first time that all three school were ranked inside the top eight provincially.
Earlier this month, longtime Elgin Park coach Johan Mynhardt predicted that, in the coming years, the Peninsula “could really be a force” on the girls rugby scene.
And speaking for his own team, Kaye suggested that could indeed be the case. Semiahmoo will graduate just one Grade 12 starter – captain Mona Kraft – off this year’s team.
“I think it was a good experience for next year,” he said. “There’s some potential coming down the road, and I think this is just the start of something good.”
Mynhardt, meanwhile, was equally pleased with his team’s showing.
“I think we did OK. We went in eighth and we came out fifth,” he said. “We were very happy with our performance. We gave it all that we had.”