Kaitlyn Jinda. Photo submitted

Playing like a “lumberjack” powers Kaitlyn Jinda to rugby success

Campbell River player chops down opponents on the field

Campbell River’s Kaitlyn Jinda has been putting in a lot of work to reach her rugby goals, the most recent being invited to last week’s Canada West U18 Camp that wrapped up with a 36-22 win over USA West on Sunday at Brentwood College in Mill Bay.

Canada West coach Ricky Coombe commended her on her hard style of play in the win, jokingly added that she plays like a “lumberjack,” chopping down her opponents.

Jinda recently played with Team BC U17 at Western Canadians in Regina, Saskatchewan Aug. 2-4, so being invited to the Canada U18 camp as one of the youngest players was a bonus.

Campbell River Athletic Association’s President Darren Munro attended the match and reports Jinda, “played very well at blindside flanker, making five open-field tackles and was the buzz on the sidelines both with her tackling and running with the ball. She ran well in support of others and also set up a try with a stretch pass to the wing.”

Jinda’s coach at Carihi Secondary, Erin Young, feels the athlete’s preparation has been key to her current success.

“Kaitlyn takes full responsibility for her outcomes,” Young says. “She is one of the hardest workers at training, plus the hours she puts in with Pacific Sport’s IGNITE athletic development program of weights, gymnastics and sprints makes it easier for her to execute her rugby skills.”

In addition to following a strenuous prescribed Rugby Canada strength and conditioning program, Jinda has kept her skills and fitness sharp playing Summer Touch Rugby with local teens and adults Thursday evenings at Southgate Middle School.

She is also coming off a very good wrestling season that culminated with a national bronze medal in her weight class in April.

Young adds, “As rugby coaches, we really encourage our athletes to be playing other sports, and wrestling is probably a top choice in Campbell River. The evidence is clear in every rugby match Kaitlyn plays, especially in the contact area.”

When asked to describe what she loves about rugby, Jinda replied “the team camaraderie, and the ability to adjust on the fly. Rugby is built for all body types and personalities. In the short time I had with Team BC before heading to Westerns, I began to consider my teammates, coaches and other staff as family. With the long days of training and travel, they see you at your best, and sometimes, at your worst. The coaches are always fully committed, very knowledgable, and are always there to give you feedback. They want to see you succeed as much as you want to.”

Fall Mini and Junior Rugby Coming Up

Jinda started playing rugby in Grade 7 with the Campbell River Athletic Association and the local club invites all new and returning players ages 5-18 to their free pre-season and Try Rugby sessions Tuesday, Aug. 27 and Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 5:30 p.m. each night at Southgate Middle School. Age grades will be divided up onsite by similar age and skill groups, just show up dressed for weather with water and cleats.

Season registration follows online and costs range from $105-$175. Plans are to run U7, U9, U11, U13 Co-ed Mini Teams (which run both fall and spring) and U14, U16, U19 Girls and U15, U17, U19 Boys. Practices are Wednesdays for U11 and older and practices or games are Sundays for all age groups.

The club is looking to fill a few coaching roles, new coaches can be paired with current coaches. Please email campbellriverrugby@gmail.com or visit the website at www.campbellriverrugby.weebly.com for more information.