Local athlete raising money for international competition

Maddie Avery takes off past her opponent playing for the NorKam Saints girls rugby team
– Photo supplied

Along with preparing to attend McGill University in Montreal this fall, Sun Peaks local Maddie Avery’s summer has been spent training with the U18 BC Women’s Rugby team for an upcoming international competition in Ireland. Avery and two other Kamloops competitors on the team, Grace Campbell and Lizzy Gotuaco, will be representing B.C. and Canada against French and Irish provincial teams, and will also have the chance to watch and support the Senior Canadian Women’s Team at the Rugby World Cup. The tour begins on Aug. 10, after a two-day intensive training camp in Vancouver.

“Playing on a selection team is different than high school because girls from all over the province chosen from their regionals or provincials performances are on the team,” said Avery. Those who make it are very devoted and willing to travel and play at a more intense level. We focus mainly on high level techniques.”

Since making the team in early July, the three have been back and forth from Vancouver consistently for practices.

“It’s tiring, but rewarding. We’re going to be ready to compete when we get there.”

Avery, who has been playing rugby since grade eight and just won the Provincial championships with her NorKam senior team, is looking forward to the trip.

“It’s the first time I’ll have played international games seriously. I was in New Zealand in March for rugby, but that was more for fun. This is a chance to see and compete with some really good teams,” said Avery.

“We’re going to be watching the Canadian Women’s team play New Zealand, which will be a great game I’m sure we can learn a lot from.”

It’s also a chance to study play styles of different countries.

“Some teams are more defensively minded and some like to attack. From what I know, Irish teams tend to play with heavy contact. We can take from them and see what does and doesn’t work and bring it back to our team.”

Overall, she’s excited.

“We’re ready to play. It’s a great feeling to represent our country, and feels like a lot of hard work over the years paying off.”

The players estimate the costs of attending the tour to be $2,500 per participant which covers flights, meals and accommodations. All three have been fundraising individually to cover costs, and have set up an online campaign for those wanting to help. In seven days, they’ve raised $1,485 of their $7,500 goal. To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/grace-maddie-lizzy-team-bc-tour.