June Sports Update: Provincials and Nationals

With four programs at the provincial championships and one at nationals over the last two weeks, it has been a busy period for our gifted athletes, but also a fantastic opportunity for Shawnigan to showcase our tremendous athletic programs.
The First XV and the Iron Women earned silver medals in the boys’ AAA Tier 1 and girls’ AA tournaments, respectively in Abbotsford, while the Colts placed seventh at the junior boys’ championship.
“All three teams and their coaches can be extremely proud of the improvement and determination shown representing their school,” interim Head of Rugby Mr. John Tait said. “All of our players contributed to successful seasons and wonderful memories and lessons from competing together. The future is bright and no doubt the lessons learned from this year will pay off in the years to come.”
The First XV picked up decisive wins over Elgin Park and Carson Graham before bowing to St. George’s 15-10 in the championship match. Shawnigan led 7-5 in the late going before some bad bounces led to a pair of unconverted tries by St. George’s
“The team dominated the set play and stuffed the St George’s attacking game from the start with physical tackling, and our team committed to each other in defense and attack,” Mr. Tait said. “Unfortunately, the Shawnigan boys didn’t take the points and finish on a few of the limited opportunities they had to score, with full credit going to St. George’s defense.”
The Iron Women likewise got past North Delta and Mark R. Isfeld before coming up against a formidable D.W. Poppy side that featured several players from the team that Shawnigan defeated for the title a year ago.
“The D.W. Poppy program has been reformed into a rugby academy, and that along with all of those returning athletes made for a determined side looking to turn the result from last year around,” Mr. Tait said. “They did that and more, and ran away with the final with pressure from the kickoff onwards, despite the toughness and determination shown by our Iron Women to repeat as champions.”
The Colts lost their first two games to Robert Bateman (the eventual champions) and St. Michaels University School before bouncing back with a 49-7 win over Yale in the seventh-place contest.
“The Colts finished their season on a resounding win at the provincials,” Mr. Tait said. “The team showed great resilience in first the disappointment of not getting an invite to the championships to then being asked only days beforehand to come and compete. Against Yale in the final game, they showed what their hard work throughout the season has done, with a classy exhibition of attacking skills and committed defense coming to the fore, with many first-year players stepping up seamlessly to get the win and finish the season on a high note.”
Two senior players, Jonty N. and Caitlin P., were awarded scholarships from the BC Friends of Rugby during the opening ceremonies. Each year, five male and five female graduating students are chosen by the selection committee.
For the first time in many years, the senior girls’ soccer team qualified for the AA provincial championships in Burnaby and finished a respectable sixth out of 16 teams in the tournament. Shawnigan went 2-1 in pool play, with wins over Burnsview and Smithers and a loss to the eventual silver medallists from Crofton House, then defeated Archbishop Carney in their first playoff game before falling to Brookswood in the fifth-/sixth-place game.
“This is such a special group of girls,” coach Ms. Mariel Solsberg said. “They have a great team dynamic and amazing leadership by the Grade 12s. What a way to put soccer on the map for the girls’ program. Some of the key things were our shape as a team – holding true to that was vital, being able to spring our attack because we have a lot of speed up front, and being a physical team – it's hard to compete against a physical team. Basically everything we worked on this season paid off.”
Grade 12 Neha G. was named to the Super Sixteen all-star team, thanks to her leadership on and off the field. She was well-deserving, said Ms. Solsberg, but it could also have been a handful of other players. Grade 9 player Dora G. stepped up to play goalkeeper after Grade 12 Georgia B. broke her leg during the Island playoffs, despite having no experience at the position. Georgia still came out to support her teammates – and Dora in particular – at provincials.
Also coming out to support the girls were several staff members and parents, some of whom went back and forth from Burnaby to Abbotsford during the week to cheer on the soccer and rugby teams. “It’s nice to have that camaraderie among the sports,” Ms. Solsberg said.
Shawnigan rowers had some excellent results at the national championships in St. Catharines, Ontario, with four boats making finals.
The senior women’s 4x of Grace S., Kathryn Y., Eva M. and Sophia W. placed second with a time of 7:09.23, and the junior women’s 4x+ of Sloane W., Sam P., Isabella P., Charlotte L. and Aven T. placed third with a time of 7:42.94. JD P. finished fourth in the senior men’s lightweight 1x with a time of 7:36.34, and Eva M. and Sophia W. placed fourth in the senior women’s 2x with a time of 7:42.48.
Several other boats made it as far as the semifinals: Kathryn Y. in the senior women’s lightweight 1x, Sam P. and Isabella P. in the junior women’s 2x, Arden A. and Dylan A. in the senior men’s 2x, and Steven D. in the junior men’s 1x.
“The Canadian High School Nationals was an amazing experience for all our crews,” Head of Rowing Mrs. Jennifer Parfitt said. “I was ecstatic with the performance of our finalists and the two medals we worked so hard for.  More importantly was the friendships, camaraderie and mutual support of all our Shawnigan crews and the tremendous respect they have for each other efforts.”
The golf team battled to a fifth-place finish at the provincial AA golf championships at Pheasant Glen Golf Resort in Qualicum Beach. All members of the team contributed to the scoring and coach Mr. David Hyde-Lay was pleased that they all maintained a positive attitude throughout the tournament despite the very trying windy conditions. Tyson L. was particularly impressive as he finished seventh out of 60 individual golfers and showed glimpses of superb ball striking and putting.
“We are looking forward to what next year has in store, as the entire team is comprised of Grade 10 students,” Mr. Hyde-Lay said.
The tennis team finished seventh at the AA provincial championship, Shawnigan’s best result in years. Shawnigan defeated Island rival and tournament host St. Michaels University School in the seventh-place match.
“The team played outstanding,” coach Mrs. Andi Conroy said. “We are so proud of these athletes for their achievements. Tennis is on the up here at Shawnigan.”
With only one Grade 12 player graduating, the team is looking good for next year as well.

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