Photo: Back row (left to right): Jo Robinson (coach), Daniella Robinson, Julia Egas, Amie Foster, Madison Adams, Katie Putnam, Calsha Miller, Hanna McCrae, Jada Bassett, Kyla Fallow, Pete Hercus (coach)  Middle row: Lexi LaFrance, Jasmine Maxwell, Sarah Dolan, Sierra Wood, Laura Hill, Robyn Elson, Sophia Cook, Elayna Reid, Kassidy Groh, Sophie Wilson Front row: Lily Nguyen, Maya Lott, Olivia Cook Laying Down: Tianna Anurukem, Grace Huizenga

Charger Junior Girls coming off a special year

By: JoAnne Robinson

Prospects for the senior girls’ rugby squad at Belleville’s Centennial Secondary School are looking pretty darn good for the next couple of years.

That’s because the junior girls’ team, many of whose players will graduate to the senior level next year, have had a spectacular and gold-plated 2018-2019 season.

The Chargers were undefeated in the fall season in Bay of Quinte competition, winning gold in the final against Bayside. They won again at the Central Ontario (COSSA) tournament, with a victory over Holy Cross of Peterborough.  

This spring, the girls participated in three exhibition tournaments to prepare for the prestigious Barbarian Cup tournament in Fergus, Ontario, the oldest high school rugby tournament in the province. The team earned silver after defeating Bayside 17-5 in the semi-final before falling 24-12 to Uxbridge in the final.  Coaches Jo Robinson and Pete Hercus say the team came a long way this year, and they’re looking forward to seeing how the athletes make the jump to senior.

The Centennial team is a small part of an explosion in the popularity of women’s rugby internationally.  In many countries, it’s the fastest-growing women’s sport. Since 2009, the number of women participating around the world has jumped from 200,000 to more than 2.6-million. Canadian teams have enjoyed success, too.  The national team is usually ranked in the top five in the world, and the women’s sevens won a bronze medal in the event’s first appearance at the Olympics in 2016.