The West Coast girls all-star season wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, culminating in a Southern California victory at the West Coast Invitational in Portland, Ore.
“It’s important to have more than just one weekend,” said Rugby Oregon rep side coach Ernie Espinoza. “We wanted to expand it into a season. And it’s been great to see the response.”
Started in part by a rivalry match between Washington and Oregon back in 2003, the rep side season has expanded to the Great Northwest Challenge, held this year in Idaho, and the West Coast Invitational. The GNC had nine girls teams, including return to the fray for Colorado, and a first-ever appearance by Montana, as well as Idaho, Utah, Washington, Oregon and Northern California (two of which brought U17 teams as well).
“Expanding to U17s is huge,” said Espinoza. “We’re getting a great response to that and it helps grow the game. We had more girls teams at the GNC than boys teams, and it shows we’ve come a long way.”
June 29-30 in Portland, the WCI saw another team added – the Ospreys. This was a team formed at the suggestion of previous USA U20s Head Coach Bryn Chivers, and was comprised of players from Oregon who are U19, but no longer in high school.
Unity won out over age, however, as Southern California edged Washington 10-5 in the final. Washington, which had lost to Oregon in the GNC and pool play at the WCI, won the third match, the semifinals, in a close one.
SoCal also won the U17 bracket.
“SoCal was perfect,” enthused Espinoza. “They are well-coached and have great athletes. Megan Pinson was awesome. But the games were very competitive all throughout, which is good for everyone.”