The U15 girls Bow Valley Grizzlies teamed up with the Calgary Irish to win the Southern Alberta rugby championship.

Head Coach Sarah Snowden says it was a huge victory against the Hornets, a powerhouse in Calgary rugby

She says the 50-20 scored doesn't properly represent the intensity shown on the field by both squads.

"When you're up against the best of the best, you really don't think you could take your foot off the gas, so we didn't dare," says Snowden. "The girls worked so hard."

Making it especially rewarding is how seven of their 14 players on the joint team were in their first year of rugby, and the team's forwards were all Grizzlies. Snowden explains forwards have the most physical job on the field.

"We had a big responsibility, and four of the eight were brand new players. It was a big deal, especially for them."

This season marked the first year of competitive play for the U15 team since COVID. 

She says only the Hornets were able to form a team without joining with other clubs. One team was formed by girls from three different clubs.

Here in Cochrane, she says there's been a healthy rebound in numbers. With the number of U13 players advancing to the older age group, she expects the U15 roster to be even stronger next season

"The whole girls program is growing. Obviously, COVID decimated so many clubs, including ours, but since then we've grown."

She says they run a program every January for girls brand new to the sport.

"You don't have to sign up for a team, you just show up and we show you some rugby skills and it's super cheap."

Typically, they have 15 to 20 girls attend, and several of them go on to join club or play high school rugby.

Stampede 7s is up next. Until now, it has been an adult-only fun event, but now teens can enter teams. Both a U15 and U13 girls are participating.

After that, the 7s season runs from August to October.