Thompson overseeing the breakdown.
VICTORIA - Head coach of the BC Elite Youth Sevens program Shane Thompson has wrapped up a series of ID sessions and trials across the province for the Under-16 Men's age grade. The program will soon be announcing a shortlist of 50 players invited to compete in a regional tournament at the Buccaneer Sevens on June 9th in Esquimalt on Vancouver Island.
Over the last two months Thompson held sessions for the North Island region in Nanaimo, South Island region in Victoria, Lower Mainland regions in Vancouver and South Surrey and recently returned from a session in Kelowna.
The most recent session saw Thompson travel to the Thompson-Okanagan region where he was pleased with the development of local players currently under the guidance of former Canadian international and BCEY7s coach Barry Ebl.
Five of the players identified in Kelowna have since been invited to the tournament in Victoria including Kamloops standout Dylan Marshall, a player Thompson says has great potential to excel in the sevens code of the game. A total of 17 players were in attendance from Kelowna, Kamloops and Salmon Arm.
"The turnout at all the sessions has been great and I have seen over 300 kids in total," Thompson said. "It's great to see the game of sevens growing at all levels with a number of regions putting in the hard work to not only produce elite players but to also grow the game at all levels."
"There was noticeable improvement in Kelowna and it was really evident that Barry (Ebl) and the coaches have been building up their program and developing the kids," Thompson added. "During the scrimmages the top player on the day was Dylan Marshall who showed he had the ability to make a break and go the length of the field."
Dom Haynes and Andrew Henseleit posted the top Beep Test scores, each recording 11.5's. The 35 metre sprint saw Kelowna's Nicky Markgraf record a 4.67 with Roley Markgraf closely behind at 4.69.
"It's great to see these athletes come out and compete," said Ebl, an instrumental coach in the Central Okanagan Rugby Enthusiasts (CORE) setup. "I have seen some top talent on the field and I believe in the near future we will have more and more top sevens athletes coming out of the Thompson-Okanagan region."
One to watch! Kamloops' Dylan Marshall was a standout on the day.