Major medal haul at rugby nationals

Abbotsford athletes were front and centre as all four of B.C.'s U18 and U16 provincial teams climbed the podium at nationals.

Abbotsford athletes were front and centre as all four of B.C.’s under-18 and under-16 provincial teams climbed the podium at the national championships in Sherbrooke, Que. on the weekend.

The U18 boys squad, starring the local trio of Justin Douglas, Jorden Best and J.D. Paul, won gold on the strength of a dominant 40-16 win over Alberta in the final. Douglas paced the offence with two tries.

Both of B.C.’s U16 boys teams won medals, illustrating the province’s remarkable depth in the sport. The U16 gold squad, featuring Abbotsford’s Brandon Ho, Kaden MacLeod and Josh Thiel, edged Ontario 15-13 in a thrilling gold medal match.

The U16 blue squad’s lone loss came to their B.C. counterparts in the semifinals, but they bounced back to beat Ontario-2 12-7 in the bronze medal game. Alex Ho scored the game-winning try, and he was joined on the squad by fellow Abbotsford natives Jackson Boyle, Ayden Kirkpatrick and Kolby Steen.

The U18 girls squad, featuring Lauren Arthur, Madison Borrows, Tiffany Picketts and Kayla Van Veld, fell 13-8 in the semifinals to Alberta, but they blanked Quebec 13-0 to clinch a bronze medal.

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