(U16M) BC U16 men's provincial teams eyeing repeat performances at Nationals
Published Tuesday, August 7, 2012
by Andrew Smith, BC Rugby Communications

Keffer (L) and Martinez (R) will captain this year's BC-1 U16 Gold at Nationals

SHERBROOKE, QUEBEC - The entire British Columbia men's under-16 provincial rugby program arrived in Sherbrooke on Monday afternoon with nearly 60 players, coaches and managers in tow. BC will be fielding two U16 teams at the 2012 Rugby Canada National Championship Festival as they look to emulate last year's success when the BC Gold team were crowned national champions and the BC Blue took home the bronze.

The BC 'Blue' - the development side for the U16 program - has fared well in recent years and continues to provide more opportunities for players to excel on the national stage. At last year's championships in Calgary, the BC Blue suffered just one loss in round-robin competition to Ontario and were eliminated from title contention by their fellow provincial reps  BC Gold 29-17 in the semifinals.

A number of BC Blue graduates have also moved up in the ranks and will be playing on BC Gold this year, as the program looks to defend it's national title. Coaching this year's U16 BC Blue squad is Curry Hitchborn, who sees the development side as an instrumental step in engaging age grade athletes in higher level rugby.

"These players will be taking what they've learned and parlaying it into long term success with them through BC U17, U18 age grades and beyond," Hitchborn said. "These kids are going to go back to their clubs and high school teams and bring with them their improved skills. [Co-Coach] Chris Haynes and I have driven into these 25 athletes the importance of growing not just as players, but as people."

This year's BC Gold co-Captain Cole Keffer is a graduate of last year's BC Blue team. The Capilano RFC product has excelled in the back line and was instrumental in guiding Vancouver North to their recent provincial title at the B2Gold Provincial Regional Championships in July. Keffer, along with Calixto Martinez of Bayside Athletic Association will captain this year's U16 Gold squad.

"I am honoured to be captain and I'm looking forward to leading my team through this hard tournament where we will hopefully have success," said Keffer. "It's hard to be captains when there are so many excellent leaders on the team, but we're looking forward to the experience."

Looking to guide the BC Gold to a repeat performance in Sherbrooke is the team's new head coach Ken Erikson. After their final camp wrapped up at UBC this past Sunday, Erikson was pleased with how team was coming together as they geared up for the season finale.

"In terms of expectations we want the boys to play the best they possibly can, enjoy the tournament as well as the experience of being in Quebec," Erikson said. "The team is energetic and very supportive of each other and we have some great team chemistry heading into the tournament."

The BC U16 Gold team kicks off their Nationals campaign on Wednesday morning against New Brunswick at 10:00am. The BC U16s will be competing in the opposite draw of the U16 division, opening their tournament with a 11:00am match against Ontario-1.

NOTE: Day passes for spectators at Nationals are $10. Weekend passes are $15 and tournament passes are $25. For more information visit events.rugbycanada.ca


British Columbia-1 U16 Men 'Gold'
National Championships Schedule
10:00am Wed. August 8th: BC-1 Gold vs New Brunswick
3:00pm Wed. August 8th: BC-1 Gold vs Alberta
10:00am Thurs. August 9th: BC-1 Gold vs BC-2 Blue
3:00pm Thurs. August 9th: BC-1 Gold vs Ontario-2
Friday August 10th: Day Off
Saturday August 11th: Playoff Rounds
Sunday August 12th: Placement Finals

2011 Round-Robin Record: 4-0 (1st)
2011 Gold Medal Final: BC 88-5 Newfoundland

BC-1 U16 Gold Team Staff
Coach: Ken Erikson
Coach: Peter Jamieson
Manager: John Smith
Therapist: Ben Motum

BC-1 U16 Gold Roster
Nicholas Allen (Capilano RFC)
Alexi Bonnis (Vancouver Rowing Club)
Luke Bradley (Port Alberni Black Sheep)
Joseph Carter (Fraser Valley West)
Drew Coles (Bayside AA)
Nick Collett (Bayside AA)
Foster DeWitt (North Island Tsunami)
Nico Docolas (Bayside AA)
Paolo Dube (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Cole Keffer (Capilano RFC) - CAPTAIN
Jason Hignell (Fraser Valley East)
Brandon Ho (Fraser Valley East)
Jakob Knapton (Capilano RFC)
Marc Levin (Vancouver Rowing Club)
Kaden MacLeod (Fraser Valley East)
Calixto Martinez (Bayside AA) - MARTINEZ
Mitchell Mehlenbacher (Capilano RFC)
Jack Nyren (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
Reegan O'Gorman (Vancouver Rowing Club)
Gavin Rowell (Bayside AA)
Theo Sauder (Vancouver Rowing Club)
Josh Thiel (Abbotsford RFC)
Wesley Wong (Cowichan Rugby Club)
Braydon Williams (North Island Tsunami)
Austin Wright (Capilano RFC)


British Columbia-2 U16 Men 'Blue'

National Championships Schedule
11:00am Wed. August 8th: BC-2 Blue vs Ontario-1
3:00pm Wed. August 8th:  BC-2 Blue vs New Brunswick
10:00am Thurs. August 9th:  BC-2 Blue vs BC-1 Gold
3:00pm Thurs. August 9th: BC-2 Blue vs Quebec
Friday August 10th: Day Off
Saturday August 11th: Playoff Rounds
Sunday August 12th: Placement Finals

2011 Round-Robin Record: 3-1 (4th)
2011 Bronze Medal Final: BC 22-17 Ontario-2

BC-2 U16 Blue Team Staff
Coach: Curry Hitchborn
Coach: Chris Haynes
Therapist: Alvin Tseng
Manager: Peter Parke

BC-2 U16 'Blue' roster
George Barton (Cowichan Rugby Club)
Tyler Beselt (Cowichan Rugby Club)
Aarman Bondar (United Rugby Club)
Jackson Boyle (Abbotsford RFC)
Trevor Caton (North Island Tsunami)
Angus Carroll (Capilano RFC)
Brock Gowanlock (Cowichan Rugby Club)
Dominic Haynes (Thompson Okanagan)
Alex Ho (Fraser Valley East) - CAPTAIN
Ayden Kirkpatrick (Abbotsford RFC)
Jagger Loeber (Capilano RFC)
Charlie Macdonald (Capilano RFC)
Jonathan Manderson (Capilano RFC)
Cole Milne (Cowichan Rugby Club)
Anthony Oswald (Capilano RFC)
Gino Paolella (Fraser Valley Central)
Nakai Penny (Thompson-Okanagan)
Connor Sampson (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Carlos Sheppard (Capilano RFC)
Jeremy Sinclair (Capilano RFC) - CAPTAIN
Kolby Steen (Fraser Valley East)
Tim Stephens (Bayside AA)
Spencer Walker (Richmond RFC)
Dylan Weyell (Capilano RFC)
Nick Wright (Bayside AA)



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