The Pen High Lakers rugby team opens the B.C. Secondary School Rugby Union provincial championships today in Abbotsford against Kitsilano. Individuals and businesses stepped up with financial support to help cover the trip for the team. Submitted photo

Community steps up for rugby team

The community answered financial call by Lakers rugby team for provincials

The Pen High Lakers boys rugby team is grateful to the community.

Individuals and businesses stepped up with financial support to cover the Lakers cost of traveling to the B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Union championship which begins today in Abbotsford. Needing approximately $4,000, the Lakers have nearly reached that total with more expected to come.

“We’ve been very happy with that. We’ve managed to get to the point where the kids are not going to have to come up with any of their own funds to make the trip down,” said Lakers coach Ken Sommerfeldt.

The team had not done any fundraising for a potential provincials trip as it never expected to qualify. Even before approaching media for help getting the word out, Sommerfeldt said individuals and businesses with prior knowledge helped out. Sommerfeldt said it’s a relief to be able to switch the focus to playing, adding the administrative side can be wearing.

“It’s good to know that as coaches we’re not worried about that,” he said. “The kids don’t have to worry about the financial end anymore. Just focus on the game.”

Related: Lakers headed to provincials after winning Okanagan title

The Lakers open the championship in the AAA Tier 2 division against No. 4 seed Kitsilano. A win assures them of playing in the afternoon on Saturday, which helps them because after their match on Thursday, the team travels back to Penticton so the Grade 12 players can attend their graduation ceremony. There are no games scheduled for Friday. The Lakers will then return for their final game.

“We’ve got a really good feeling about today’s game,” said Sommerfeldt. “We are confident that we can come up with a win, which is definitely something that we really need to have.”

Should the Lakers win, their Saturday game would not be earlier than 1 p.m.

UPDATE: The Lakers defeated Kitsilano 26-15.