The Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School Eagles came second last week in the 100 Mile House Girls Rugby Jamboree.
The Eagles’ senior and junior teams both lost to the Lake City Falcons. The seniors tied Vanderhoof’s Nechako Valley Secondary School, while the juniors beat them. Tries were scored by Eagles Sienna Lamarche, Jadyn Monical, Destiny Hunter and Megan Balbirnie.
PSO athletics director and rugby coach Kameron Taylor said it was good to host a jamboree in 100 Mile again, as both junior and senior teams played two games each and got a sense of their opponents before they head into Zones on May 13 in Vanderhoof.
Seniors’ captain Emily Machado said they benefited from having more players this year and will focus at Zones on passing the ball more, communicating better as a team and playing a more efficient game.
“Before, we started with just eight girls and we’d have no subs but now we have more girls and a lot more dedication,” she said.
Her junior counterpart Floria Meili, in Grade 10, agreed, saying she was proud when they beat out Nechako Valley handily in their second game of the jamboree. Meili will take over as the senior captain when Machado graduates this year and hopes to keep up the momentum.
“We’re going to be losing quite a few fast runners so I hope we get some fast players who are as dedicated to the sport as the rest of us are,” she said.
Taylor said he enjoyed the positive energy and the community support in the tournament. He said he would like to rebuild PSO’s rugby program with help from people like PSO Rugby girls coach Laura Stewart and LCSS Falcons coach Morley Wilson.
“We were the team to beat and I want to eventually coach the girls and the boys to that level again,” he said. “I’m still new and fresh myself to coaching but I’m hoping to be doing this for the next 30 years.”
He welcomes anyone with rugby experience who would like to coach to reach out. He is encouraged that several of his graduating players, including Machado, are willing to coach.
In 2024 Taylor and Morley, intends to take 20 rugby students to Ireland. The Emerald Isle is well known for its rugby teams, he said, and the experience will help his players grow.
“We’ll be going to Dublin, Galway and Cork for nothing but rugby. We’ll eat, sleep and wake up to play rugby.”