Holy cross

Holy Cross Hurricanes win provincial women’s high school rugby championship

The Holy Cross Hurricanes senior women’s rugby team won the program’s first OFSAA gold medal on Wednesday.

The Hurricanes edged host St. Mary Thunder 15-12 in an OFSAA AA final from Kawartha to Cobourg.

After beating their previous three opponents 148-0 on Monday and Tuesday, the Hurricanes were pushed down 7-5 early in the second half.

Shannon Elliott had given the Hurricanes a 5-0 lead in the first half. Tori Reynolds scored the go-ahead try and Emma Belk kicked in a convert and a penalty to make it 15-7 before St. Mary scored with less than four minutes left to close the gap.

It was the first OFSAA since 2019 when Holy Cross lost in the final to Trenton on their first OFSAA trip. They also qualified in 2020 but that was canceled by COVID-19.

Riley Stone is the only remaining player on the 2019 team. She was in 9th grade and couldn’t play in that game against Trenton, but was a key member of this year’s team.

“In 2019 I saw all of our players have a tough game and win the silver,” Stone said.

“The alumni came out today to support us and we wanted to win it for them and we wanted to win it for us. We worked so hard as a team this year through the ups and downs and really fought hard to win. We really wanted it this year. I’m so proud of all the girls.

Jake Fowler launched the women’s rugby program in 2014 and enlisted retired teacher Brian Greer, who had run a successful women’s program at Adam Scott Collegiate, to help him along with Chris Paige.

The team was strong almost from day one and after 12 straight years of Quinte Schools winning the OFSAA, the Hurricanes have reached their milestone.

“He’s still sinking,” Fowler said.

“It’s been quite a journey, so it’s pretty special, especially for these girls coming out of a pandemic. We talked about it a lot, that a year ago they were being told not to even leave their homes and how special it is that they got to play OFSAA and let’s make the most of it.

” They did it. They played really well and today they handled the odds when they were down 7-5. It was the first time they were down all year. St. Mary’s is ready to play. It was at their school and they really helped us. It was a good game.”