By: Ben Lypka, Abbotsford News
It may not have been a home field advantage, but for 2015 Abbotsford Secondary school grad Nakisa Levale it was close enough.
Levale travelled to Samoa, the country where her father’s side of the family hails from, and suited up for the Team Canada rugby sevens team at the Youth Commonwealth Games, which ended on Sept. 10. She managed to earn a silver with the team.
It all kicked off on Sept. 8, as Canada blanked Tonga 38-0 and then beat the Cook Islands 24-12. Levale contributed on Sept. 9, scoring a try in Canada’s 45-0 win over host country Samoa.
The team suffered its first defeat of the tournament later that day, falling 12-10 to Australia. But they bounced back with a 17-10 victory of Fiji to finish the pool stage with a record of four wins and one loss.
Canada then moved on to the gold medal game, a re-match against Australia on Sept. 11. but fell short 36-5. Levale and Canada earned the silver medal in the loss. Levale was one of only two players from B.C. on the team.
Levale honed her skills in the sport at Abbotsford Secondary, helping lead the Panthers to two provincial AA championships during her three seasons with the team. She earned athlete of the month at Abbotsford Secondary last year and also was named to The Province’s “Head of the Class” list of promising young athletes for 2015.
Last January she was part of the Team BC U18 girls rugby team’s first ever international tournament win at the Las Vegas Invitational Sevens event.
She caught the eye of the University of Victoria, and Levale now competes with the Vikes women’s rugby team in the fly half position.
Levale and the Vikes open the season at home against Lethbridge on Sep. 25, host Calgary on Sept. 27, play UBC on Oct. 4 and conclude the season against Alberta on Oct. 18. The playoffs and CIS championships occur in late October and early November.
Levale’s goal is to to play for the national women’s team one day.
For more details on Levale and the team, visit govikesgo.com.