Ashley Albert and Janel Millar, two members of the Meadow Lake SheDevils rugby club, will be part of history this year as they were recently named part of Saskatchewan’s first provincial female team heading a national sevens competition in Vancouver in March.
The two athletes participated in a series of tryouts in January in Moose Jaw, and recently learned they made the team. Typical rugby play usually involves at least 15 team members, but ‘sevens’ is seven players playing two seven-minute halves.
The Grade 11 students both played the sport for four years. Albert was part of the SheDevils squad since the beginning, and Millar just relocated to Big River from Lloydminster, and will be commuting to part of the team’s roster later on this year. Each said they enjoyed the tryout process and were thrilled to make the provincial team.
“It’s such a great experience and feeling to be on a Saskatchewan team,” Albert said. “Women have never had a sevens team from Saskatchewan, so it’s pretty cool that we have one and to be a part of the first team to nationals.”
Millar echoed her teammate’s enthusiasm.
“It was pretty intense,” she said. “There was a good group of girls and a good match for skill. Being chosen for the team is something I feel really privileged to be a part of, and paved the way for girls behind me.”
The tryout process included two camps where the athletes learned skills and ran drills, and then participation in a university-level tournament where the coaches for the team assessed the players’ game performance.
“We were the youngest team there, and I think we held our own,” Albert said.
Albert said she owes a great deal to the SheDevils, including her teammates and coaches, and Millar said she looks forward to being a part of the squad and already feels welcome.
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