The sports culture is a huge part of Cochrane. Each year there are many moments that define the athletic accomplishments of Cochranites and our many incredible sporting organizations.
They can't all be captured here, but here several highlights of note of 2018.
Cobras set new province record
Records that have been years in the making and a testimony to the depth and continuity of the Cochrane High School’s football program.
Early in the season, they broke the record for consecutive wins in league, exhibition and playoff games. For forty consecutive game, excluding exhibition games in the States, they came off the field with a win. That breaks a long-standing record of the tier I Raymond Comets.
The team went on to win their fifth consecutive provincial championship in tier III play in chilly Fort McMurray by defeating the Holy Rosary Raiders, of Lloydminster, for the fourth consecutive year. They defeated the Whitecourt Cats at the start of their string of championships.
Two Olympic Medals
Cochrane athletes Tristan Walker and Mason Raymond were Olympic medalists in the South Korea Olympics last February.
The Canadian luge relay team captured silver to become the first Canadian team to medal in a sport largely dominated by Eastern European countries. Tristan Walker and long-time doubles partner Justin Snith, men’s singles slider Sam Edney and women’s Alex Gough combined for the victory.
In hockey, it was an Olympics that excluded current NHLers but did include many former players, including Cochrane’s Mason Raymond, who at the time was playing for Switzerland's SC Bern as well as Team Canada. The Canadians went on to win a bronze.
Raymond has since retired from hockey. Walker continues to compete on the World Cup luge circuit for Canada.
Dube Cracks Flames roster, Captain’s Canada to Gold
Cochrane’s Dillon Dube has never backed down from a challenge when it comes to his sport of passion.
Last January he captained Team Canada’s world junior team to a gold medal and brought the cup home briefly to share with local students.
In his first true shot at cracking the roster Calgary Flames, he turned heads in pre-season play and got the greenlight.
He suffered an injury early in the season but bounced back and sent to the club’s AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat, for eight games. Dube returned to the Flames roster on Dec. 29.
He’s seen 23 games so far this season for the Flames and has one goal and four assists on the season. The 20-year-olds first NHL goal came on Nov. 21 against the Winnipeg Jets.
Track and Field Domination
Cochrane High’s track team equaled their football team’s record of consecutive provincial banners.
The track and field team won their fifth consecutive 3A provincial banner and have been a dominant force for some time.
As a team, they accumulated 245.5 points outpacing their nearest competitor, Springbank High by almost 100 points.
They also won the division and zone banners.
Repeat provincial titles is definitely a feather in the cap for many Cochrane High sports programs, but winning it for the first time is special.
2018 saw the varsity girls volleyball team win their first-ever provincial banner. They came close the year previous when they returned with a silver medal.
This exceptional team has been building towards a provincial title for years. This season they won all of their divisional play in Rocky View, plus four of the five tournaments they entered. In the other tournament, they won silver at a University of Calgary invitational tournament.
The boys' team didn’t win a provincial banner but their accomplishments can’t be understated in a season where they met all their aspirations.
The varsity boys advanced to the provincials for the first time in 23 years after winning the zone championship. They went on to earn a quarterfinal playoff berth, where they faced Barrhead Composite, who went on to win gold.
First Basketball Banner for Bow Valley
By far, the most exciting local matchups of the high school basketball season were the Bow Valley-Cochrane High junior girls games. Each game came down to the wire and in the end, the Bow Valley Bobcats won their first zone basketball ever with a win over the Cochrane Cobras.
There were other highlights to the high school basketball season. The Cobras junior boys team won the zone banner, Cochrane High hosted the 3A provincials and both St. Timothy High School teams advanced to the playoffs of the Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association.
Bow Valley Best Rugby Club in Alberta
The Bow Valley Ruby Club continues to grow in strength and popularity locally and they are also held in high regard provincially.
The organization was named Alberta Rugby Club of the Year and it follows a second place finish in 2017.
All of their divisions continue to grow and now the full value of the training and experience they provide youth is starting to be witnessed in the adult and high school ranks.
The Bow Valley Grizzlies made to the jump to the premier Alberta rugby league on the strength of being a top contender and champion in division 2 play. In their first year in the league, they earned a playoff berth. The club also has a division 2 team and jointly form a division 3 team with Okotoks.
It was a painfully short high school season in 2018, thanks to heavy snowfall in the spring, but the Cochrane Bears, jointly formed by players from Bow Valley and Cochrane High, made the best of it.
They won a bronze medal in provincial play in what was a near-perfect 51-7 win over Sturgeon Composite.
Off to BMX Worlds
Haylee Laurell and Mason Pike will be representing Cochrane BMX on the world stage in Zolder, Belgium this July at the World Championship. Haylee is ranked as the top 8-year-old in Canada and Mason placed third in 10-year-old boys.
Overall, the club had another banner season. They capped off the season in September at the provincial championships hosted by Okotoks with 14 racers making the podium and 31 returning with coveted AB plates
The club is slated to host the Grands and Provincial Championship in September.
Wrestlers Pin Numerous Medals
Cochrane Cowboy wrestlers continued to let their presence known in Alberta, Canada and internationally.
In his first Pan-Am championship as a junior wrestler, Connor McNeice won a bronze medal in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Aidan McKeage, who wrestles with the U of A Golden Bears, was ranked number two in USports and number one in Canada West and went on to represent the nation at the U23 Worlds in Romania, where he wrestled in the 79 kg category.
The Canada West wrestling championships last February left four Cowboy alumni with medals dangling from their necks. Golden Bear Aidan McKeage and the Dinos Callum McNeice and Grace Chambers all won gold. Brendon McKeage, also a Dino, won bronze.
That same weekend, McNeice was named Canada West Male Wrestler of the Year and just a week later was named USports athlete of the week.
Elijah Springer won bronze at the Canadian nationals in the 71 kg weight class.
Many other honours were earned by local wrestlers and among the other highlights was sending 12 wrestlers to represent Zone 2 in the Alberta Winter Games.
National Curling Championship
The third time was the charm for the Muise rink at the national Travelers Curling Club Championship.
Morgan Muise, who is the curling coordinator at the SLS Family Sports Centre, and her team won the top prize in Canada for club curling teams in New Brunswick. in November. They made the finals in 2016 and were determined to return and win it all. The team will once again be vying to represent Alberta in 2020, the next year they are eligible to compete.
Muise, along with teammates third Lyndsay Allen, second Sarah Evans and lead Sara Gartner, has been curling out of the Calgary Curling Club for seven years and were originally formed as a competitive team but opted to remain at club competition level.
Junior Curlers Excel
Cochrane has a number of budding young curlers and many came home with honours through the course of the season.
The Zoe Cinnamon rink won Cochrane High’s first provincial banner in March.
In trials for the upcoming Canada Winter Games, three of the four teams in the U18 girls' division included Cochrane curlers.
In the end, it was a showdown between the Cinnamon Rink, formed by Cinnamon, third Justine Hagey, second Elspeth Cooper and lead Raelyn Helston, and the Bakos Rink, that includes Cochrane curler Julianna MacKenzie. The Bakos rink won and MacKenzie is going to the Canada Winter Games.
Also participating was Hannah Airey, who was lead for Team Bakker.
Team Bakker has had its share of success, including winning the Alberta U18 championship in March to earn the right to represent Alberta at the national championship a month later in New Brunswick, where they won bronze.
St. Tim's Cross Country Team Remains Impressive
The cross-country team of the St. Timothy High School added to their many accomplishments by placing second in the ASAA provincials by the slimmest margin possible.
A mere 10 points separated St. Tim's from earning their first cross-country banner. It was the fourth consecutive year the school's team has finished second to Strathcona Tweedsmuir, who are on a 10-year streak of provincial championships.
Minor Ball Continues to Soar
Cochrane Minor Ball has soared in numbers and in opportunities for local youth. The registration numbers are as high as possible for the spring league and more teams were added for summer play. Cochrane also had a team registered in the Calgary North Baseball League and in 2019 will be introducing a Baseball Alberta 'AA' team.
In the spring league, two Cochrane Crush teams facing each other in tier 2 senior finals of Alberta District 3 Little League. It was a thriller with CETS coming out on top of ProPak.
For the summer league, Cochrane Minor Ball hosted the Prairie Little League Championship for Major tier 2 and 3 teams. The Cochrane Major 'AA' won the tier 2 championship. The same weekend on the road in Medicine Hat, the Crush Minor Tier 1 team won the Alberta/Prairie Little League Championship by overcoming the Foothills team.
Congrats to all the above and the many other fine athletes and organization that form Cochrane's exceptional sports community.