By Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News
The Raymond Comets girls rugby team is accustomed to winning.
On Monday, the 15s rugby team continued its march through the 2023 season by winning the zone title thanks to a 24-15 win over the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute Clippers.
“It was a good but slow game,” said Raymond coach Dan Bikman. “There were lots of whistles and penalties.”
Despite the stops and starts in the action, Raymond was able to keep pace with a game LCI squad.
“LCI plays fast on both sides of the ball,” said Bikman, who added the Clippers tested the Comets in a number of areas. “They were a really good preparation game for provincials to get us playing at a higher level.”
Monday’s win keeps Raymond’s undefeated season intact and now, only one goal remains – a Tier 1 Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association provincial championship.
That quest begins Friday with an 11:45 a.m. game at the Calgary Rugby Union facility (9025 Shepard Rd. SE). Raymond, ranked No. 1 in the province, will take on the No. 8 team in Alberta, Bow Valley.
A win in the opener will put the Comets in the semifinal, set for 3:45 p.m.
Should Raymond win that game, the team will earn a spot in Saturday’s final, set for 3 p.m.
The main competition at provincials will likely be No. 2 Strathcona or No. 3 Notre Dame, a team the Comets clashed with earlier this season. The No. 4 team in the tournament is Western Canada.
Other teams in the provincial competition include No. 5 Foothills Composite, No. 6 LCI and No. 7 Charles Spencer.
Raymond has won 12 of the last 13 provincial Tier 1 banners, and the 2023 season has included tournament wins in Edmonton and Red Deer, along with an undefeated run in league play and a zone title.
Captains Dacee Schmale and Tycee Nelson will look to lead Raymond to rugby 15s provincial glory, with hopes to add to the school’s trophy case after the Comets 7s team won provincials earlier this year. Raymond’s tradition of success on the rugby pitch has resulted in plenty of golds over the years. In fact, this weekend, 10 of the 15 starters who will be playing in Edmonton have already won a provincial rugby title in either 7s or 15s for the Comets.
This weekend, coach Bikman’s team will look to put gold medals around the necks of those other five players as well, to cap off another dominant season.