Brookswood’s Brianne Kucey was named the winner of the Bill Turpin Award, which recognizes the top senior rugby player in the district who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and dedication to the game. Kucey played this past season for D.W. Poppy (below) after Brookswood did not have enough players to field a team.

Brookswood’s Brianne Kucey was named the winner of the Bill Turpin Award, which recognizes the top senior rugby player in the district who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and dedication to the game. Kucey played this past season for D.W. Poppy (below) after Brookswood did not have enough players to field a team.

’Cats Kucey honoured for dedication to rugby

Recruited to the game herself, now Langley's Brianne Kucey does the same for others

Brianne Kucey didn’t enter high school envisioning she would become a rugby player.

Her plan was to try out and make the Brookswood Bobcats basketball team, although that didn’t pan out. But when one door closes, another usually opens.

When another Brookswood student was trying to drum up interest in girls rugby at the school a short time later, Kucey came out and was quickly hooked.

“I just love the way the sport makes me feel,” she said.

“It makes me feel euphoric when I am on the field; I just love it.

“And I love the people who are involved in the sport.”

Last week, Kucey was presented the Bill Turpin Award at a banquet honouring the top players and teams in the district.

The award is presented to the top senior high school rugby player in the Langley school district who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and continuing dedication to the game.

“She is dedicated to the game,” said Dino Camparmo, the Brookswood rugby co-ordinator. “So dedicated, I remember she came in to see me one day in December wondering if she could start practices. I think it was -1 as a high.”

Much like Kucey was recruited to the sport, that is the role she wound up taking on.

And when Brookswood did not have enough players to field a team this past season, Kucey joined the D.W. Poppy Redhawks so she could play in her final year of high school.

“Brianne was an instant leader and she supported her teammates on and off the field with her experience and rugby knowledge,” said Poppy coach Beth Clarke.

“Brianne was very gracious about her opportunity to play and made an effort to thank both (coach) Brian Anderson and I after every game and practice.”

Not surprisingly, Kucey primarily plays the fly-half position.

The position requires the player to be highly skilled and quick thinking and handle the ball quite a bit.

Kucey has also played for the Langley Rugby Club women’s team the past couple of seasons.

And her involvement in the sport is not limited to just playing, either.

She spearheaded fundraising efforts, took a refereeing course and officiated several Grade 8 games, and served as an assistant coach with the Brookswood Grade 8 boys team this past season.

Kucey is off to UVic in the fall where she hopes to land a spot on the Vikes rugby roster. If she can’t earn a spot on the team, she plans to play club rugby in Victoria.

Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

Brianne Kucey played for the Poppy Redhawks this past season after there were not enough players to field a team at Brookswood.