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Comets rugby program set to kick off 2024 season

Posted on April 11, 2024 by admin

By Garrett Simmons 
For The News 

Mother Nature hasn’t been very co-operative in terms of spring sports, but that hasn’t stopped the Raymond Comets girls rugby program. 
As the weather has flipped from tropical to polar, and back again, coach Dan Bikman‘s squad has made the best of it. 
“If the ground is wet, we run and pass,” said the coach. “We’ve just kind of made it work.” 
Work is the key word for the Comets girls rugby program – something the team has taken to heart over the years as Raymond has solidified itself as a provincial powerhouse. 
“We’ve got a core of kids that have a really good work ethic,” said Bikman, who added while the team only practised three times over the Easter break, the players took it upon themselves to organize an extra Monday jog. 
That “work as hard as you can” mentality should serve the team will this year, according to the coach, who will once again have a solid group of athletes to work with. 
“We’re pretty balanced,” he said. “We’ve got a core of 15 or so kids that have played a few 7s provincials or a few 15s provincials.” 
That core will be tested early and often, as the team kicked off its regular season schedule Wednesday against Winston Churchill (score unavailable at press time), with a huge weekend coming up. 
On Friday, Raymond will host Notre Dame in junior and senior varsity in a traditional battle of Alberta’s two top programs. Saturday will feature a JV event, where Raymond will field two teams. 
With about 60 players total, the Comets 7s squad and the JV and SV 15s teams will be busy, as weekend trips to Okotoks and Edmonton will follow up this weekend’s home JV event. 
“Our kids are going to play a ton of games the next three weeks,” said Bikman. “We’ll find out a lot about where the kids will fit on the depth chart.” 
The weekend tournament schedule will also include Raymond’s annual Red Deer trip, which will take place in min-May. 
But league competition should also be fierce this year, with a well-coached WCHS team on tap first, followed by Lethbridge Collegiate Institute the week after.  
“LCI gave us a really good game last year in zones and came in third in provincials and we came in second,” said Bikman of Raymond’s southern Alberta rival. 
LCI’s 7s team defeated Raymond last year, and many of those players will likely suit up in 15s in 2024. 
“They have a core of athletes on that team that I assume are all returning, so they’re going to be tough,” said Bikman. 
As is the case every year, Raymond’s goal is to get back to another provincial final and this time, finish the job, after 2023’s silver-medal performance. 
“We’re just excited to be back and see what this year’s group of athletes can do.” 

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