It's been a banner season for high-school girls’ rugby in Cochrane.
The junior and senior girls’ CobraCats, comprised of athletes from Bow Valley High School and Cochrane High School, each won divisional championships at the Rocky View Schools (RVS) Rugby 7s tournament in Airdrie on May 9.
“They really wanted to get out there and prove to themselves that they could do it, and they achieved it,” said CobraCats head coach Stephen Horton, who also coaches for the Bow Valley Rugby Club.
Both teams played against the Springbank Phoenix in the final. The junior team won 21-10 and the seniors beat the Phoenix 24-0.
“They were definitely our strongest competition,” said Horton. “Their coach also coaches for Bow Valley, so they’re very strong and they were set up really well.”
A total of four teams competed in the junior division and six teams competed in the senior division.
Above all, the head coach said it was great to see the friendships and camaraderie formed through the tournament, amongst all teams.
“What’s nice is the girls are coming out smiling. They’re having fun, making friendships, and just enjoying themselves,” said Horton. “That’s the most important part of it – is actually getting involved in a community that they can thrive in personally.
“A big thing with the girls, too, is the confidence. Actually being able to have that physical contact with someone else like when you’re tackling – the confidence that you get from that is huge, so that’s really nice to see that part of their personality develop too.”
Senior girls captain Klover Tegart, who assistant coach Brian Morgotch described as the “heart and soul of the team,” was forced to sit out the tournament with an injury.
“She’s really set the tone for everyone, which has been awesome,” he said. “It was really great to see the girls perform the way they did without her being there.”
Morgotch said all of the athletes put on an impressive show, including juniors Madi Tolton and Jade Kasepchuck, and seniors Sofia Preece, Marcelle De Bruin and Millie Teskey.
Teskey, who plays inside centre for the senior girls, said the team had only played one game of rugby sevens before the tournament, so to come out as RVS’ top team was a huge confidence boost.
“It was a great feeling for me and the girls I play with,” said the Grade 11 Cochrane High student-athlete. “We were really unsure what to expect. Of course we hoped to win, but we had no idea of the abilities of the other teams.”
The senior girls lost to Springbank in the tournament round robin, so when they found out they would be facing them in the final, the nerves set in.
“Springbank is always tough competition, whichever sport they are playing,” said Teskey. “[But] we got off to a very quick start with a try in the first 20 seconds.”
They expanded their lead, unanswered by the Phoenix, with three more tries and three conversions.
“Throughout the tournament, I think our team got stronger and stronger, making less mistakes every game,” Teskey said, adding she loves how Cochrane’s two public high schools came together to form a rugby team.
Both the junior and senior girls are set to play at the South Central Zones rugby 7s tournament May 30. However, if the senior girls commit to Zones, they must also commit to provincials, which overlap with both Cochrane High and Bow Valley’s graduation ceremonies the following weekend.
Morgotch says they will know by the end of the week whether they’ll have enough players and interest to compete. They have enough players on the senior team, excluding grads, that they could still play.
The junior and senior boys teams did not qualify for Zones.