Both of Cochrane's high school rugby teams are off to a strong and remain undefeated after two weeks of play.
The CobraCats girls team won their season opener on home turf last night against the Springbank Phoenix. They took a 29-0 lead into the second half and finished with a 34-17 victory.
That's two straight wins for the team that combines players from both Bow Valley and Cochrane High. Last week in exhibition play, they beat Foothills Composite, 25-20.
Assistant coach Brian Morgotch is pleased with how quickly the team has grown so early in the season. He says the play has improved in just two games. He's anticipating an even tough matchup next week against Holy Trinity.
"We have a lot of new people this year, a lot of grade 9s," says Morgotch. "We're up to about 46 players now. and we are hoping to build out of what we had last year because last year was extra special coming out of the pandemic."
He says they aim to give players exposure to the many field positions.
"It's learning all the time for everybody. Some of our veterans have tried new things and different positions. It's all about making sure we get all 46 players involved."
It's also about introducing the players to the rich culture of rugby.
"It's a fantastic sport that not any students have had exposure to before coming to high school unless they've been in club."
Both players Millie Teskey and Josie Powers believe the team has the makings of another strong season.
"I think we're getting off to a really good start," says Millie Teskey. "I think we have a good team bond and amazing coaches that are going to help take us to the next level."
The CobraCats won both divisional and zone banners last year and finished fourth in provincials.
"I think our goal is to reach even higher this year," says Josie Powers, "hopefully winning divisional for 7s and zones again and placing even higher in provincials this year. I think we have the potential to do it, too."
The rugby community makes a point of making the game about more than what's on the scoreboard. It's common for teams to gather after a game for a social. For the CobraCats, that means hosting a pizza social after the game inside Bow Valley High.
Having players from both Bow Valley and Cochrane High even furthers that sense of community.
"That's one of the things we've always appreciated is being a Cochrane community of the two schools together, and not us versus them," says Morgotch. "It's the one sport where we come together to represent the town."
The boys team opened their regular season last week with a 19-15 win against Foothills Composite. They're scheduled to be on the road this Wednesday to take on the Strathcona Tweedmir.
Next Wednesday (May 3), the boys and girls CobraCats are hosting Holy Trinity Academy teams. The girls kick off at 5 p.m. and the boys follow at 6:30 p.m. on the SLS Legacy Sports Field.