Following a season in which she was named a second team All-Canadian, a Canada West All-Star and a CIS Championship tournament all-star, fourth-year wing Nicole Ronsky of the Pronghorns women's rugby team has been named to Canada's Maple Leaf roster for the opening round of the 2015-16 HSBC Women's Sevens Series to be held in Dubai Dec. 3-4.
The Maple Leafs, a developmental team, will play in the International Invitational portion of the Dubai tournament and will face South Africa, the Belgium Rugby 7s and Tabusoro Angels during day one of the tournament.
"It is an outstanding opportunity for Nicole and I think that it is great for Canada West and CIS to have our athletes make that next step and get an opportunity to represent Canada," says first-year Pronghorns head coach Ric Suggitt. "Our team getting into the playoffs was a bit of a surprise to most people, but what was no surprise was Nicole's ability to perform in high pressure situations."
Ronsky, who turned heads two weeks ago with her performance at the CIS Championships in Kingston, will make her first appearance with the national sevens program and will head to Victoria on November 24 to prepare with the team for the Dubai tournament.
"I am overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude for this amazing opportunity," says Ronsky. "It wouldn't have been possible without my amazing coaches, teammates and administrators and the continuous support from my incredible family. It's so good to be a U of L Pronghorn."
This season, Ronsky was named a Canada West All-Star for the third year in a row and finished tied for the team lead in tries.
At the Canada West final four, Ronsky scored twice in the Horns' semifinal win over the University of Calgary Dinos, which secured a berth in the CIS Championships. She scored another try in the Horns' loss to the Victoria Vikes in the Canada West Championship game.
At the CIS Championships in Kingston, the Calgary, Alta. product led the Horns in tries, scoring three times in three games. She scored twice in the team's final game, a loss to the Vikes in the fifth-place consolation contest.
"Not only does Nicole have the ability to break it open and race to the goal line, she is also a fierce tackler," says Suggitt. "I think it was her tackling count that caught the eye of National Team Coach John Tait."
Former Pronghorns Ashley Steacy (nee Patzer) and Kayla Moleschi are also members of the Canadian National Sevens program, which has already qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Steacy will miss the Dubai tournament due to a knee injury.