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Bald Eagle Omen and Other HSAA Notes

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Bald Eagle Omen and Other HSAA Notes

Sean Lumkong fends off some attention. Dan Bandoni photo.

On the Thursday morning after sweeping the BC select sides, the HS All Americans and Eagle Impact Rugby Academy players went down to the beach near the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology.

It was a nice little rest (although the stair climb up from the sand is several hundred steps long), and a beautiful combination of scenery and perfect weather for the players to recover in.

And overhead, just as the players returned to the UBC campus, a huge bald eagle flew to her nest in a Douglas Fir. America’s national symbol making a patriotic fly-by? Why not?

The HS All Americans’ performance was startling in its complete nature - the BC U18s got one sniff at scoring, and were unable to convert. The rest … pretty much all of it … was HSAA. Why? In part because of the fact that several of the HSAA players toured BC in 2015 with the EIRA U17s. In part it’s because the coaching team Salty Thompson is now working with all seem to be on the same page, with egos parked at the entrance.

Still, according to the players, and even despite two early tries, it took a while for everything to click.

“The beginning was a bit rough but as we got together and playing as a team we got into the flow,” said hooker Oscar Ockomichalek (Santa Monica). “Coming from the EIRA teams, I played with most of the SoCal boys before. Coming here with the U17s last year it was a little rough [getting the set pieces working] but this time it was easier.”

“I was on the EIRA team last year,” added Sean Lumkong (La Costa Canyon and Coastal Dragons). “But this was a newer group. It took a couple of days but we started to merge together, and I think we all had a decent relationship by the time the game started. But there’s always more work to do.”

Always more work to do, and it seems that the HSAA players understand that. They haven’t arrived because they made the team - making the team means there is more required.

Ockomichalek said playing with EIRA in the camps and on tour prepares players for that.

“With the EIRA team you’re held to a higher standard and brought into a higher level of play, so it’s not new when we’re with the All Americans,” he explained. 

Both Lumkong and Ockomichalek said the team was most proud of shutting out the BC U18s, rather than the 48 on the plus side. But they also noted that there were periods in the game when they struggled a little. Saturday they expect BC to want revenge, so they will have to have that killer instinct.

The bald eagle up in those trees would approve.