CORE Sixteen athletes from Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country will play on BC teams this summer.

Kelowna hosts U16 Western Rugby Championship

A record number of athletes from the Central Okanagan are chosen for B.C. teams this summer.

The Central Okanagan will be well represented on Team B.C. for provincial rugby competitions this summer, including this week’s U16 Western Canada Rugby Championships in Kelowna.

As a result of their play in the Provincial Regional Championships (PRCs) and outstanding performances at the ID camps at UBC a week later, 16 local athletes were selected to compete in the U15, U16, U17 and U18 divisions.

The following are the athletes chosen from the Central Okanagan.

• U15 women—Aja Good

• U15 men—Sully Curran, Cruz Fisher, Cam Halverson, Lewis Jenkins, Jacob Jobst, Tanner Milligan and Declan Monaghan.

• U16 women—Taylor Herron

• U16 men—Storm Buck, Anders Fahlgren, Finn Hussey, Connor Laing and Colby Miletto.

• U17 women—Jordan Brown

• U18 men—Simon Paul

This is a record-setting number of Central Okanagan athletes making provincial rugby teams. Most of these players will compete in the U16 Western Canada Rugby Championships in Kelowna beginning Thursday and running through Sunday at Parkinson Recreation Centre. The best U15 and U16 male and female rugby athletes from Western Canada will enjoy several days of rugby in the Okanagan sunshine.

“This huge number of local athletes selected to provincial teams was not an accident,” said Doug Manning, local organizer of the U16 Western Canada tournament. “Many of these athletes have had a rugby ball in their hand since they were six years old, as part of the mini-rugby program run by George Curran.

“They graduated to a quality Touch Sevens program run by Ken Boe and Derek Worrall, took off-season training in their teens while at Barry Ebl’s CORD Academy, and benefited from excellent coaching from people like Leana Marton and Chris Hill. These players have worked hard to make these B.C. teams.

“It’s important to recognize that they have received a lot of high quality help along the way.”

The U16 Western Canada Rugby Championships begin Thursday at 8:30 a.m. as Alberta Black takes on BC gold (Field 1), Alberta White takes on Saskatchewan (Field 2), and Manitoba takes on the BC U15s (Field 3). Spectators are welcome to come out and take in the action.

Also this weekend, Rugby Sevens has been added to the Center of Gravity schedule.

More than 100 elite rugby athletes on nine teams will go head-to-head at City Park. The tournament features several very competitive sides, including Fiji Blonde, Canadian Coos, Westshore Valhallians and the Vernon Jackals.

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