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Rugby 7s medals returning to Vancouver Island with Pan Am athletes

Canada’s field hockey team place 4th, while the rugby 7s women won silver and the men bronze
Mill Bay product Matt Percillier takes a selfie with his new hardware following Team Canada’s bronze medal rugby sevens win at the Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile on Nov. 3. (Submitted by Liz McDougall)

Success on the rugby pitch — for the men and the women — added to the Vancouver Island Pan Am Games medal haul.

The rugby sevens competition — featuring Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School 2021 graduate Carissa Norsten for the women, and Mill Bay/Brentwood product Matt Percillier for the men — kicked off Nov. 3 when the Canadian women beat Chile 36-0 to start their tournament before matching up with Mexico and then Brazil later that same day.

Norsten scored Canada’s first try of the match against Mexico, her first international try, with the Canadians going on to trounce Mexico by a 69-0 score.

Norsten scored once more in Canada’s 29-21 final group play match — a victory over Brazil, which helped her team reach the semi-finals against Colombia.

In a 45-14 win for Team Canada, Norsten had her third try of the tournament against Colombia. The victory meant Norsten and crew would play for gold.

In the finals, however, Canada fell just short, as USA went on to win 19-12, giving Canada the silver medal.

In the men’s tournament, Percillier and Team Canada faced Brazil first, winning 22-12.

Playing well after his recent return from a hamstring injury, Percillier got the first Team Canada try in their 42-5 victory over MacDowell Rugby Academy coach/Cowichan Rugby Club member Alejandro Chávez and Team Mexico in their second game of group play.

In their final group game, Canada fell to USA 19-5 with Percillier scoring Canada’s only try. Even so, Canada advanced to the semi-finals and a date with Argentina.

Argentina had the upper hand, dealing Canada a 21-7 loss and sending them to fight for the bronze medal with USA, their second matchup of the tournament.

Ultimately, the Canadian men wouldn’t be denied, beating USA 19-17 and taking the bronze following a hotly contested match.

In other sports, Duncan’s Sara Goodman and the Canadian field hockey team, didn’t kick off her games until Team Canada’s first preliminary match on Oct. 26 against Cuba, when they dominated play and won by a 7-1 score.

Canada then faced the hosts, Chile, on Oct. 28, falling 2-0 before beating Mexico 5-0 on Oct. 30.

Their preliminary record moved Team Canada into the field hockey semi-finals on Nov. 2 against Argentina but Goodman’s team fell 3-0 to Argentina, setting up a bronze medal match with Chile the following day. Chile had lost to USA in the other semi-final.

Though possession time was roughly even, the host team managed to score twice, and win the bronze 2-0, landing Canada just out of the medals.

Meanwhile, Cowichan Bay’s Desirae Ridenour, who also participated in the 2019 Games in Lima, Peru, competed in the women’s individual triathlon on Nov. 2.

She was tasked with swimming 1.5 km, cycling 40 km and running 10 km in her quest for the podium but in the end, she was one of four who did not finish the race.

According to Triathlon Canada, Ridenour pulled out of the race on the second lap of the bike.

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
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