A young Surrey athlete is determined not to let a family tragedy prevent her from representing her province at the National Rugby Festival in Toronto.
Rachael Storie,16, a forward at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary in Cloverdale, who will be going into Grade 11 in the fall, is hoping to be part of the Team BC U16 girls team that will compete for a national championship title from Aug. 15-21.
But the road to athletic success hit a rough patch recently.
Last month Storie, her mother and two of her 13 sibling were on their way to the doctor’s office when they received a phone call that their house was on fire.
By the time they arrived home, much of the house the family had been renting was gutted, forcing the large family to find short-term accommodation with various relatives.
Luckily no one in her family was hurt, but they had no insurance.
Storie’s love for the sport of rugby has given her an outlet during a tough time and helped her continue to focus on her goals.
Although relatively new to the sport, Storie knew she had found her passion during her first practice in Grade 8.
“I used to play basketball and volleyball so rugby was definitely out of my realm of sports,” she said.
Being in Grade 8 and just starting high school, you don’t have many friends, but rugby is definitely the type of sport that helps you make friends quickly,” said Storie. “And there’s nothing that creates a bond better than crashing into someone else on your team.”
Originally a second row forward, Storie is now a prop in the front row of the scrum where she now literally comes face to face with her opposite number.
Having the ability to play both tight head and loose head prop (left and right side) in the scrum has given her the versatility needed to play at the provincial level and definitely a key to selection on game day, she said.
Storie has been a member of the U16 Fraser Valley team for the last three years and has played at the Provincial Regional Championships, but due to work commitments, attending provincial selection camps has been a challenge, so she’s relied upon her regular season play to get her noticed.
She has made the 28 player roster for Team BC, but still needs to impress to be selected to the final travelling squad of 24 players.
Although he doesn’t have a role in the selection of the provincial team, her Fraser Valley coach feels she deserves a spot.
“She’s such a committed kid,” said Stuart Crowley, who coached the Fraser Valley U16 team that competed at the provincial championships.
“We had a dominant scrum and she was a very large part of that… her size, mobility and ability to play anywhere in the front row makes her very valuable.”
Storie is now looking at Toronto and beyond.
“I have met so many people playing rugby and have become strong physically an mentally,” Storie said. “It’s challenging but it’s a good challenge.”
Despite working part-time, funding the trip to Toronto on her own has been a challenge.
“I don’t like to rely on anyone but myself, I pay all my own expenses but it’s very expensive, so I’m hoping to have a bottle drive to help pay for my trip,” she said.
Storie has also set up an online funding page to help offset her expenses at gofundme.com/2fusaqrg