By Howaida Sorour-Roberts
They’re excited not just to be travelling, but to be able to represent their school. The Redhawks girls’ rugby team is in the final throws of fundraising for a trip to California to take part in a rugby tournament.
“We chose California because they run an international rugby tournament in March, during our March break,” said Jacob Swarbrick, rugby coach and guidance counsellor at Smiths Falls and District Collegiate Institute (SFDCI).
The trip will cost $2,225 for each team member. It’s not a small amount and the girls have been fundraising for almost a year. The current fundraiser started on Nov. 22 and has the team selling Scotch Pine Trees from Campbell’s Tree Farm for the holiday season.
Each five to six foot tall tree is available from $35 and up. They can be purchased through any of the team members or from Swarbrick at 613-283-0288 ext 2328.
The girls’ rugby program at SFDCI is still very young, just entering its fifth year, but already the program is proving successful.
“Last year our junior team finished in the top four in the province, and we hope to grow over the next couple of years and that should lead us to some OFSA success,” explained Swarbrick.
Already five of the school’s graduates have gone on to play CIS university rugby.
The young women currently on the Redhawks teams are keen players with lots of camaraderie.
“The team is super close, the girls are all like family and I love the contact and having fun,” says Rachel Streekstra, grade 11 student and rugby player at SFDCI. “Rugby is just a game you fall in love with the first time you play it.”
According to Swarbrick, taking the team away on trips like the one planned to California has huge benefits for the students.
“Trips like these help the kids set bigger goals and see the world as a little bit smaller when they visit a part of it,” he said.
Thirty-seven rugby players and five adults will be going on the 2017 trip. They will spend two days playing at the tournament, one day with the University of Southern California’s rugby program, one day at the Knottsberry Farm and a day of beaches and sightseeing in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
“I’m really excited about the trip because it’s my first trip with the school,” said Sierra DeVries, grade 11 student and Redhawks rugby team member.
Photo submitted: The Redhawks rugby program is in its fifth year but is already garnering attention. Last year the Redhawks junior girls placed among the top four in the province.