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Island high school sports teams celebrate bountiful championship weekend

Island win three championships and five Island teams make it to provincial championship games
SMUS's Brianne McLeish tries to head past Notre Dame goalkeeper Sienna Pavan during the B.C. High School Girls AA Soccer Championship game at UVic on Saturday. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

If the ferries seem listing and weighed down today, it might be because of all the championship trophies and medals coming across the strait from 2023 B.C. high school championships.

Island teams had a dominant weekend in winning three championships with a total of five Island teams making it to provincial championship games.

The St. Michaels University School Blue Jags actually got to stay at home to win the B.C. girls’ Double-A high school girls’ soccer title Saturday on the University of Victoria turf fields. The Blue Jags got two goals from Brianne McLeish as they rallied from one down to defeat the defending 2022 champion Notre Dame Jugglers of Vancouver 2-1 in overtime in the final.

McLeish, along with SMUS teammate Sophie Olcen, are headed next fall to play soccer at UVic for Tracy David’s Vikes.

Eva Cuddihy of SMUS, committed to U Sports field hockey at the University of Calgary, was named top goalkeeper of the provincial tournament.

McLeish, Olcen and Cuddihy are among a flotilla of all-round SMUS standouts headed to U Sports next fall, including Makena Anderson at UVic for Carrie Watts’ basketball Vikes, Amanda Adams and Rebecca Stone to UVic for the four-time defending national champion Vikes field-hockey team and Allegra Nelson to the University of Guelph and the Gryphons field-hockey team.

“These athletes can do it all and this was an incredible, gutty and hard-working group,” said SMUS head coach Jackie Cunningham.

SMUS beat the Collingwood Cavaliers of West Vancouver 2-1 in the semifinals on goals by Anderson and Madeleine Albert.

The Blue Jags’ went 27-1 across all competitions in sweeping to the Greater Victoria regular season, Lower Island Ryan Cup, Island and B.C. championships.

The only blemish was a loss to Alberta power Archbishop MacDonald of Edmonton in the UVic tournament.

“We used that loss to really come together,” said the veteran coach Cunningham, in her fifth year coaching SMUS after two decades of guiding the Stelly’s Stingers.

The Reynolds Roadrunners were the top Island team in the B.C. Triple-A girls’ soccer championship in Kelowna by making the semifinals before finishing fourth.

Shawnigan Lake School overwhelmed in winning the girls’ Double-A high school rugby championship at Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford by not giving up a point in the tournament and outscoring the opposition 178-0 over three games.

Shawnigan Lake defeated the D.W. Poppy Redhawks of Langley 17-0 in the final after blitzing the North Delta Huskies 84-0 in the quarter-finals and the Abbotsford Panthers 77-0 in the semifinals.

D.W. Poppy defeated the Maple Ridge Ramblers 57-0 in the quarter-finals and got past the Mark Isfeld Ice of Courtenay 48-21 in the semifinals. The Ice had downed the Argyle Pipers of North Vancouver 17-12 in the quarter-finals.

Shawnigan Lake School was looking for the sweep but it was denied by St. George’s of Vancouver, which defeated the Stags 20-14 in the edgy and tense boys’ high school Triple-A rugby championship game.

Claremont defeated SMUS 17-0 in the all-Island final to win the B.C. high school girls’ rugby sevens championship. The Spartans were dominant in giving up only one try in the provincial tournament.

The high school sports season concludes with the B.C. track and field championships Thursday through next Saturday at McLeod Athletic Park Stadium in Langley.

Oak Bay is the defending provincial senior Triple-A team champion and will be after its 13th B.C. title since 2002. The Bays dynasty also has five second-place team finishes since 2001 to go with its 12 team championships since 2002. Coach Tom Turnbull’s Lambrick Park Lions will be looking to defend their B.C. Double-A team championship from 2022.

Middle-distance sensation Ruby Broadbent of the Parkland Panthers, headed to the Oregon State Beavers of the NCAA Pac-12 and a projected international career for Canada, is tipped as the likely individual star of the provincial high school championships.

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