Three South Delta teams are serious provincial title contenders starting with soccer and rugby championships this week
Original article Mark Booth/ Delta Optimist
Photo Mark Booth
South Delta Secondary athletics will look to conclude a fabulous spring season in style as three teams take aim at provincial championships starting on Wednesday.
Coming off a heartbreaking 29-25 defeat to Earl Marriott in the Fraser Valley senior boys rugby final, the Sun Devils have been seeded No. 2 and right behind their South Surrey rival at the B.C. “AAA” Tier One Championships in Abbotsford.
South Delta will open play Wednesday against No. 7 Lord Byng Grey Ghosts. A win would set-up a semi-final encounter on Thursday against the No. 3 Yale Lions or the No. 6 West Vancouver Highlanders. The Devils have already played the Lions twice this season — losing a one-point battle in regular season action before bouncing back with an impressive victory in the Valley semi-finals.
The key for Spencer Baines’ squad will be fitness and avoiding the injury bug. The SDSS coach is hoping to be close to full health for the provincials and it’s critical to have some kind of depth, playing three games in four days. The weather forecast of rain and cooler temperatures should help with such a demanding schedule.
The Sun Devils have never won a B.C. title in senior boys rugby. Last year, they came seventh.
Meanwhile at UBC, a young South Delta squad will begin its quest at the B.C. “AAA” Girls Soccer Championships.
With as many as five Grade 8s, as well as Grade 9s, in the starting 11, it has been a remarkable season for Stephen Burns and Brent Sweeney’s squad — going unbeaten in league play then losing the Fraser Valley final in penalty kicks to Centennial.
The Devils are making a record 17th consecutive appearance and have had plenty of success at the 16-team tournament, including podium finishes in two of the last four years.
The format puts heavy emphasis on round-robin play with only the four pool winners moving onto the semi-finals.
South Delta will open play against Kelowna’s Mt. Boucherie, then take on Fraser Valley rival Riverside. A potential showdown comes Thursday morning against perennial powerhouse and North Shore/Burnaby/New West zone champion Argyle.
The Sun Devils will also be serious challenges for a B.C. School Sports banner at the B.C. “AAA” Golf Championships in Nanaimo. The 36-hole event tees off on June 5.
South Delta captured its first Fraser Valley title in recent memory at the Chilliwack Golf Club and also produced an impressive victory at the Delta Police Tournament which included rounds at King’s Links and Northview.
The SDSS roster of five players include three who are in just Grade 10.
Finally, SDSS will also have solid representation at the B.C. Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships in Langley, starting on Thursday.
The contingent will be led by Grade 9 running standout Madelyn Bonikowsky who won the junior girls 800m and 1500m events at the recent Fraser Valley Championships.