If a Prince Rupert – Terrace rivalry exists, it’s well-engrained in the youth of the coastal city and there’s no distance they’ll travel too far to prove it.
The Annunciation Knights’ two soccer teams made up of Grade 6 and 7 students hit the road for 10 hours to end up in Prince George to be part of the four-year-old Terry Wilson Memorial Tournament for the very first time. Not only did they finish higher than Terrace, but they won the whole darn thing.
The tournament is named after a Prince George elementary school principal who died of brain cancer in 2010 at 47 and it hosts independent Catholic Schools’ co-ed teams from areas around northern B.C.
“They (Terrace’s Veritas Catholic School) kind of copied our school name so we definitely wanted to win to take the Knights’ name [once and for all],” said Brandon Burnett.
A 2-1 victory over Kamloops’ St. Ann’s Academy Crusaders in the ‘A’ final of the tourney lifted Annunciation to Prince Rupert’s first title in their very first year of entry. The number of teams expanded from 14 to 20 in 2014 and the Knights did all their damage in two minutes of the match.
“Seji [Sahdra] got a lucky break [on our first goal] and we were all just really pumped and Daniel [Cachero] got the second,” said Burnett.
Cachero’s strike came with a few minutes remaining to quash Kamloops, one of the stronger teams of the weekend, and the team Burnett and his squad had in their sights from the beginning.
“Before the game, we saw them play and we had our doubts [we could beat them],” said the Knight.
“But we really wanted to win so we pushed through.”
Even Annunciation’s second squad proved to be a threat. The ‘B’ final featured the hometown Immaculate Conception Kodiaks of Prince George versus the second Rupert team, and they scored twice in a 6-2 loss to the team that didn’t spend 10 hours on a bus.
“We made it that far through maybe eight teams,” said forward Kate Morse.
“[Terrace] got the trophy last year and we didn’t actually play them because there’s a ‘B’ and ‘C’ division and I think Terrace was in the ‘C’ category and we were in the ‘B’,” she added.
Ann Rowse coached one of the teams while Grade 7 teacher Sarah Stephenson was the head coach of the other, with Janice Vick and Janice Fudger serving as assistants.
Off the field, the kids and teachers went shopping, swam and slept on the gymnasium floor of St. Mary’s school overnight.
Morse and her team played from around 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. during the weekend.
“They were 12-minute halves [to fit all the games in] … it was pretty exciting,” said Morse.