Ross Royals claim another rugby title sweep
GUELPH – The Ross Royals swept the District 4/10 high school rugby championship tripleheader Wednesday as they took the titles in the senior boys, girls and junior boys categories.
It was the third sweep of the titles for the Royals as they had previously captured all three crowns in 2011 and 2015.
“Quite honestly, it’s because we’ve got (people like) Josh Ogden and Yancho (Mark Yanchus) and we’ve got some former rugby players that just landed at Ross and are sort of keeping it alive,” senior boys’ coach Jim Granger said. “Other schools don’t have anybody playing it. We have 2,000 (students) and we try to make it fun. We’re just trying to keep it alive and we’ve got a good core of people in the building.”
The wins also completed undefeated D4/10 seasons for all three teams, something the Royals also accomplished in 2011, but not in 2015.
Ross 50 Centre Wellington 10
“I think it was ours to lose right from the start,” Granger said. “We’ve had a great year. We’ve played some good teams and done really well. We’re pretty fast this year and our forwards have done a helluva job keeping it together and presenting the ball to our backs this year.”
While the Royals were a confident bench heading into the final, they knew they couldn’t take the Falcons lightly.
“GCVI gave us a great game last game in the semis and CW is always hard to play against,” Granger said. “Their rugby knowledge is really well and that’s always a bit of a worry when you’re playing a team like that.”
Calvin Fogler and Noah VanDam scored three tries apiece for Ross while single tries were scored by Alex Coole, Adam Best, Adam Ford and Mitch Penner.
Caleb Willmets and Jack McDonald scored the tries for Centre Wellington.
Ross advances to next week’s CWOSSA AAA championship tournament at the University of Waterloo. Pool play is set for Tuesday and the championship match is to be played two days later.
“We’ve got two more practices to get ready,” Granger said.
This year CWOSSA will send two representatives to the OFSAA AAA boys’ provincial championship tournament that is to be held June 6 to 8 at Brooklin. At CWOSSA, Ross will be in a pool with the St. Mary’s Eagles of Kitchener and the loser of Thursday’s Brant County championship match between the Brantford CI Mustangs and North Park Trojans.
“I want to play the exact same game we played right there (in the D4/10 final),” Granger said of his hopes for the CWOSSA tournament. “We kept the ball away from them and we made them chase us, we made them tackle us and we went sideline to sideline very well today, which is hard. We’ve got some good speedsters and we’ve got some really good rugby players and if we keep the ball away from the other team and play as a team like we did tonight, we’re going to be hard to handle.”
Top finishers in each of the two pools at CWOSSA gain berths in the May 30 final. They also nail down berths in the provincial tournament.
“If we win (both of Tuesday’s games), for the first time since I’ve been there for 20 years, we get to go to OFSAA,” Granger said. “That’s a giant goal. Our big goal right now is our next game at 10 o’clock in the morning against District 5 number 2 and we’ll see what happens from there.”
The CWOSSA A/AA tournament is to be played at Guelph’s Eastview Park Friday and Monday.
Ross 59 Orangeville 14
The Ross Royals, who’ve become perennial contenders at the OFSAA provincial tournament, continued their mastery of the D4/10 league with Wednesday’s victory.
“I’m very impressed and very happy,” Ross coach Mark Yanchus said of his team’s season. “We’ve grown each game and we’ve improved each game. Our penalty county early on (in the season) was nine or 10 penalties. We’re getting down to two or three.
“Some of it was new players. They didn’t know what to do. They were meaning well, but they were doing the wrong things.”
Saneika Patterson scored three tries for Ross while Olivia Sarabura had a try and three converts. Aliesha Lewis added two tries while Anna Bernardi kicked four converts while single tries were added by Christiane Newcombe, Abby Auger and Kennedy Queen.
Savannah Trafananko and Grace Hearns each had a try for Orangeville while Hannah MacLeod had two converts.
The title win was the fifth consecutive for the Royals and their seventh in nine years.
“I’ve always said that we’re privileged to get the chance. I went in 2006 with a team and was close for a number of years. 2015 was the beginning and the last four years have been real good,” Yanchus said. “I’m always careful what I’m asking for, but I look at this team and we’re ready to compete at CWOSSA. With a loss, it better be a really good team that beats us and I’ll be happy to shake the hand of that coach.”
Ross won’t celebrate the league title long as it’s a quick turnaround to the CWOSSA AAA girls’ championship tournament that’s to go at Owen Sound Friday and Monday.
“I prepared the girls and I waited to see how this game went and then I’d sub out some of the senior girls for rest,” Ross coach Mark Yanchus said. “I kept putting on their radar that within 48 hours we’re playing three of the biggest games.”
At CWOSSA, the Royals are to play Waterloo-Oxford Friday at 12 noon and Owen Sound Friday at 3 p.m. First in each pool are to meet in Monday’s 1 p.m. final.
“Everyone’s told me that to get to CWOSSA and then to win CWOSSA is a ticket to be in the top four at OFSAA and it’s proven true,” Yanchus said. “I now have my own proof in terms of the last four years with my team.”
The CWOSSA A/AA tournament is to be played at Guelph’s Eastview Park Friday and Monday. The Erin Raiders and Bishop Macdonell Celtics represent the D4/10 league at the tournament.
Ross 61 Centre Dufferin 7
Max Nixon struck for three tries and two converts to power Ross in the all-Royals final.
Sam Berry also had three tries for Ross and gathering one try apiece were Codi Smith, Safi Gohazar, Curtis Goldin, Riley Drexler and Mason Arnold.
Next up for Ross is next week’s CWOSSA AAA boys’ championship tournament at the University of Waterloo.
That tournament is as far as Ross can go as OFSAA doesn’t hold provincial championship tournaments in team events at the junior level.
The Royals are to play Tuesday at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in CWOSSA pool play. First in each of the two pools are to battle in the CWOSSA final May 30 at 4 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal