Middle School Rugby
SMUS hosted the LIMSSA rugby jamborees last week, with the Grade 6 jamboree taking place on Tuesday and the Grade 7 games on Wednesday. Ten teams from nine schools, including St. George’s and Collingwood from Vancouver and George Bonner from the Cowichan Valley, were involved in the Grade 6 jamboree. The warm weather was a treat for the 150 players, who competed in spring sunshine.
The SMUS team began their pool play against St. George’s before also playing George Bonner, North Saanich and Central. The team put together two wins and two close losses from these games, and went on to face Monterey in the final game of the day. Playing their best game of the season, the team defended extremely well, on top of putting some good running rugby together to round out the day with a sound victory. Many of the 17 players deserve mention for their good play, with Mark Piazza, Jonas Robinson, Tyler Strandberg, Hari Ikonomou leading the way on the day.
At the Grade 7 jamboree, nine teams from seven schools were in attendance, including Mulgrave and Collingwood from Vancouver and George Bonner from the Cowichan Valley. The weather was even brighter and warmer than the day before and SMUS had two teams competing. The White team began their day with a match against GNS before also playing Mulgrave in pool play. Although close losses were recorded, the team showed signs of improved play in both games. The afternoon saw the White team face each of the two teams from Royal Oak. Again in both games, the team continued to improve, rounding out their day with a much deserved win for all their hard work. Amongst the 12 White team players, scrumhalf Dave Cunningham, flyhalf Jake Wilmott, and centres Ryan Totz and Austin Vaza led the way.
In their pool, the Blue team played one of the Royal Oak teams as well as George Bonner. Solid wins were scored in both games, though it was evident that more team play would be needed in later matches. The Blue team were then matched up against other unbeaten teams from the morning: Collingwood and Mulgrave. Collingwood was the first of these games, with the Blue side playing a much freer open team game to record a thorough win. After some rest, the Blue team matched up against Mulgrave in the jamboree’s final game of the day. An uncharacteristic nervy and soft start saw Mulgrave score an early try. The Blue team players were quick to rebound from this, however, with a number of tries being scored via expansive passing movements.
The SMUS Blue team remained the only unbeaten team at the jamboree. Several of the 12 players in Blue team deserve mention, with centre Max Pollen, flyhalf Graeme Hyde-Lay, scrumhalf Simon Gray, hooker/centre Matty McColl, centre Mitch Newman, and wing/scrumhalf Owen Sudul at the forefront.
All the Grade 6 and Grade 7 players end their season in the coming week on Thursday May 20th when they travel to St. George’s School in Vancouver to play in the ISA tournament. Two teams are entered into the less than 115lb division, with one team playing in the open weight division. These games will be tests of how far they have come this season. Whatever the results, which are secondary to their development, the players will for sure try their very best and finish the season on a high note.
It was a relatively quiet week on the rugby front, with the Grade 9s away on their annual outdoor-education week and the Senior team taking a week off in the hope that a bizarre run of injuries, which has shorn the team of numerous key players, would ease.
However, the Grade 10 XV was focused on its key match of the season, at Shawnigan in the Island semifinal. In the end, while SMUS produced a very gutsy display, especially by the forward pack, the hosts advanced courtesy of a 33-12 victory.
For SMUS, the two killer blows came just before and after the halftime whistle, with two Shawnigan tries taking the scoreline from 12-0 to 24-0. The latter score was especially cruel, as a Joe Erlic chip kick, with the defense at sixes and sevens, bounced maddeningly away from the SMUS chasers and instead popped to the speedy home winger who sprinted in from some 70 meters.
An Erlic try, followed by a late Jacky Chuang effort, did put a nicer gloss on the final scoreline. However, credit to Shawnigan, whose players took all their scoring chances well.
For SMUS, the backrow of Jeff Nishima, Quinn Kliman and Marcel Sanati was impressive and outplayed their more fancied opponents. Hooker Peter Harrison was also very prominent in loose play. Among the backs, though under massive pressure, Erlic was always dangerous, while fullback Forrest Paton also had his moments.
Two days later, the team regrouped for the bronze medal game vs Brentwood, and prevailed 43-26. Both sides scored some lovely tries. For SMUS, Johnny Huang and Johnny Sipos performed well at both wing and centre, while Colin Hawes and Marcus Lelewski led the forward effort.
The Grade 9 and 10 players look forward to a busy week, with the younger group away in North Vancouver to Carson Graham on May 18 before both teams play at Oak Bay a day later. Congratulations also to Erlic, Nishima and Derek Hyde-Lay, all of whom will make their 1st XV debuts May 17 vs Reynolds in the Howard Russell Cup playoffs.
At the Senior level, the injury spree has resulted in a series of call-ups from the Grade 10 XV. Nonetheless, matches against Reynolds on May 17, hopefully Oak Bay on May 20, and then the BC AAA Tournament May 29-June 5 represent an opportunity to write a good concluding chapter to what has been a somewhat inconsistent and disappointing season.
Track and Field
This week the SMUS track and field team competed in the Lower Island Track and Field Championships held at UVIC’s Centennial Stadium. A number of students performed personal bests at the meet and posted excellent times and distances. Highlights included Allie White gaining 2nd place in the shot put, Lindon Carter running a stellar 200 metre run to finish 3rd, Leo Marchand taking 5th in the 1500 metre race and Austin Smith improving his league time in the 800 metre race by an impressive 5 seconds.
This Wednesday and Thursday athletes will compete in the Island Championships, looking to earn a berth to the BC Championships later this month.