KITCHENER — The quest for gold, silver or bronze has been delayed for at least another year.
The powerhouse KCI Raiders have been relegated to the consolation side at the 12-team Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations triple-A girls’ rugby championship after splitting a pair of games on Monday.
Winners of six consecutive Waterloo County (WCSSAA) championships but still without an OFSAA medal of any colour, the Raiders fell 12-5 to second-seeded Caledon Mayfield in their opening game before rebounding for a 46-0 win over St. Thomas Parkside in their afternoon contest at Eastwood Collegiate.
The Raiders were in high spirits after their romp over Parkside, even though a fifth-place finish is the highest result they can achieve in the two-day tournament that concludes Tuesday at 2 pm at Bluevale Collegiate.
Monday’s results, said Raiders head coach Jennifer Armatage, took a back seat to simply being able to enjoy a season of competition after a COVID-19 shutdown that forced the cancellation of the past two OFSAA championships.
“A relief, delighted, happy to see kids out on the field, in gym, on the wrestling mats, everything about it,” said Armatage, the phys-ed department head at KCI.
“It’s rewarding, it’s fulfilling and one step closer to where we were before COVID … and this season has definitely ignited my fire again.”
The Raiders are participating at OFSAA as tournament hosts and are one of two teams from the Central Western Ontario (CWOSSA) zone. The Brantford Collegiate Mustangs won CWOSSA last week, topping the Owen Sound Wolves in the gold-medal game.
KCI’s morning loss Monday showed just how close they are, falling by just one try to a higher-seeded team.
Even more impressive is the Raiders have a starting lineup that includes nine Grade 9s, which bodes well for next year and beyond.
“The future looks good, very bright,” said Armatage. “I just want to encourage girls to keep trying (rugby).”
Grade 11 winger Adelaide Holmes was the dominant player against Parkside, scoring four tries in a game that was controlled by the Raiders from start to finish. Addie Uhrig, Jayne Armatage, Amber Whitley and Michelle Brooks also had tries as KCI built a 24-0 lead at halftime and cruised the rest of the way.
Jayne Armatage, the coach’s daughter, plays outside of school and is a dominant performer at the fly-half position. Lucy Cherteris is a converted soccer player who handles kicking duties, Grade 9 scrum half Emma Gray keeps the ball moving, Megan Finley has been a workhorse at the Number 8 position and fifth-year inside center Jillian Bernard-Jardine has led by example since the start of training camp.
Soccer, track and field start Thursday
Meanwhile, other OFSAA championships and festivals will be held this week in soccer, boys’ rugby, tennis, track and field, field lacrosse and baseball.
St. John’s-Kilmarnock will represent the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISSA) at the OFSAA single-A boys’ soccer championship in Jordan Station starting Thursday.
Père-René-de-Galinée of the District 8 Athletic Association, which won the Central Western Ontario (CWOSSA) soccer championship last week, will play at the OFSAA single-A girls’ tournament in Belle River.
St. Mary’s will participate in both the OFSAA boys’ and girls’ triple-A events in London after sweeping the CWOSSA soccer championships last week.
The OFSAA tennis championship started Monday in Toronto and concludes Wednesday.
The biggest gathering of them all, the OFSAA track and field championship, runs Thursday through Saturday at York University in Toronto.
The OFSAA ultimate festival was staged last week in Toronto and Woodland Christian finished 14th out of 16 entries.