Lillooet’s own Callie Harder’s first season with the University of Victoria Vikes rugby team ended about as well as it could have – with a national championship last month clinched with a 30-0 victory over the second-place team.
Harder was selected to play with the Vikes 7s and 15s squads travelling to every tournament and winning Western Canadian Championships for both in addition to the national title for the 7s team.
“It’s not often that first-year players for a university travel and play,” Harder said.
“I was pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to travel to every tournament for 15s and 7s. Then being able to go the nationals with the 7s team was a pretty amazing experience.”
That Canadian University Rugby 7s Championship, held in Kingston, wrapped up on March 24 with the lopsided final-game victory over Sherbrooke. To get to that point, the Vikes played five more games over the two-day tournament, during which the team didn’t experience a single loss. Rather, they dominated, beating Brock 36-5, Western 48-7, Sherbrooke 27-12, Laval 31-5 and Queens 28-12 before meeting up with Sherbrooke again to win it all.
“I was a little worried going into the tournament not knowing what the teams were like and how we would do against them because we have never played them before,” Harder recalled.
“But when we were on the field and everyone was connected, we played the best rugby we had all season.”
All that after winning out over UBC in the Can West Championship final in Vancouver by a score of 12- 5 to qualify for the national event.
Harder also had a good run with the Vikes 15s winning Silver at the Canadian Western Championships and placing fifth at Nationals in Wolfeville, Nova Scotia.
This is Harder’s sixth year playing rugby, a sport she took up in Grade 8. She joined the Vikes in September of last year.