July 23rd, 2024

WCHS, Raymond rugby teams win provincials gold

By Lethbridge Herald on June 6, 2022.

The Raymond High School Comets senior girls rugby team took home the provincials banner for the 11th time in 12 years in Edmonton in this May 2022 file photo.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

Both Winston Churchill High School Tier 2 senior rugby teams and Raymond High School’s Tier 1 girls team won Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association provincials gold this past weekend in Edmonton.

It was the first time since 2016 that WCHS rugby teams won double gold.

For WCHS’s girls team, the path to the Tier 2 provincial title included opening the tournament with a 33-0 win over Notre Dame on Friday in their first game, edging Holy Trinity 22-19 in the semi-final before beating Sturgeon 26-19 in Saturday’s final.

“It feels really good,” said head coach Shannon Court.

“It’s really nice to comeback and just to play was just awesome and to be back in the provincials format. I don’t like losing, so it was really nice to win. The girls were very happy; we’re just extremely proud of them.”

Court says the key for them was consistency of a few players and the heart overall of the team.

“You can see them step up,” she said.

“We didn’t have very many truly challenging games this year until we got to provincials… I was super impressed by the girls’ heart and determination, didn’t give up, like our semi-final game we were tied. So I think in the last five minutes, we (were) down by a try and we scored a try —‑the kicker made the convert and we were tied. And then in the last play of the game, our kicker made a penalty kick to win us the game. And just the focus and determination to do that in the last five minutes when you’re exhausted after playing two games, it was awesome.”

The WCHS boys team only had to play in the gold medal game, due to teams dropping out and won 36-24 over Sturgeon.

“Anytime you can get a provincial title, there’s a lot of work that goes into it,” said WCHS boys coach Nevin Morrison.

“We came from behind in our game — got down two tries early and were able to battle back and went through a game that had lots of penalties. So pretty proud of the boys for their effort and fitness level to kind of continue through that game and so some good stuff.”

The Raymond girls team won their 11th provincials banner in 12 years over Strathcona, 43-7, in the final.

The Comets shutout Western Canada 59-0 in their Friday opener and later that day defeating Bow Valley 50-0 in the semi-final game.

“I always tell people, like it doesn’t get old because you get to see a new group, a new team dynamic do it for the first time and that’s the thrill of coaching,” said Comets head coach Dan Bikman.

“So we played three games — all three teams were athletic — and they all had players that individually were as good as our best players. But we just won on fitness and team rugby. At a provincial tournament, you’re going to get good players, but as a group our kids over time were able to move the ball enough to find holes in their defence and score.”

LCI’s Tier 1 girls team was also at the tournament but lost their first game and went through the consolation side to finish seventh.

W.R. Myers’ Tier 3 girls lost their final to Rimbey 22-8 and Chinook Tier 1 boys lost 14-10 in their quarter final.

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