Abbotsford's Spencer Miller made his fifth straight appearance for the BC Elite Youth (Rugby) team as he joined 40 rugby players at the Las Vegas Invitational High School Sevens on Feb. 7.
"Spencer is one of the athletes who has probably gotten the most out of our sevens program in terms of training and tours," said coach Shane Thompson. "He came around at exactly the right time."
Miller first impressed Thompson at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops where the team went undefeated and downed Saskatchewan 41-5 in the gold medal match.
The Yale Secondary standout was especially dominant in the final, recording four tries and accounting for nearly half the team's points in the win.
During the 2012 BC Elite Youth Sevens season, Miller was the only player to travel to all three international tournaments.
He excelled at the Vegas Invitational with the BC-2s, who lost just once in the tournament, to their fellow provincial reps BC-1s.
Two weeks later, Miller was bound for Hong Kong where he was the youngest player on the provincial side that went undefeated at the Standard Chartered Bank Youth Invitational Sevens.
His third and final tournament with the BCEY7s program was in Victoria, where the BC-3s (U17s) won the Bowl last July.
"Spencer is a prime example of how . . . these athletes will improve in their under-standing of sevens and how to play it," said Thompson, himself a former national sevens coach and player.
"The amount of sevens experience Spencer has had as an 18-year-old is probably more than anyone in Canada has had at his age. He has done more training and played in more tournaments than anyone before him."
For Thompson it's been rewarding to see a young player excel in the abbreviated, high tempo game.
"To me, this is the goal - to provide a top notch program with a structure to help these young athletes improve from year to year," said the coach.
"Spencer is an exciting young athlete and has the ability to be a game-breaker," added Thompson. "Although he has improved over time and is very explosive, he still needs to learn when to have a go on his own and when to distribute the ball to his team mates.
"After all, the higher up we go in sevens, the more important it is to work within the team structure and team concept. But within that structure, it's fantastic to have electric players like Spencer who give this team so many options to work with."