TREENA MIELKE/Rimbey Review
For the first time in the history of the team, the Rimbey Spartans finished league play as undefeated champions.
And for the sixth consecutive year they have brought home a bronze medal from provincials.
Coach Ceara Newman is especially proud of the Spartans, noting that they come from a small school, competing against players from much larger schools where tryouts are often held.
“Emerging undefeated is quite a feat for this tier 2 team considering that their league consists of three tier 1 teams. We are a small team and our philosophy has been to provide opportunity to every single players.”
Newman said having rookies train with the seniors has proved beneficial and turned the Spartans into a force to be reckoned with on the field.
“Our rookies have their own developmental league. The benefits of this have really become obvious in the past few years. Last year the team only lost one league game against Notre Dame from Red Deer.”
The Spartans traveled to Calgary for provincials June 10 and 11.
In the first game they defeated Springbank 23-0 , but in the second game they lost to Fort Macleod 12-0.
The Spartans won their third game 33-0.
Newman said the second game was disappointing, but, overall, the Spartans played very well throughout provincials and conducted themselves like winners off and on the field.
“There was definitely some disappointment when we lost our second game; however, within our tier we are ranked third in the province. We worked really hard and we have a lot of really strong players. As coaching staff we were really proud of how the girls played and how they conducted themselves both on and off the field.”
“Besides being very competitive, we had a really great group of girls this year and above anything else, we had a lot of fun.”
The Spartans will lose some key players this year as they will graduate and move on. These players include captains Jalaine Anderson, Christine Balding, Amy Hawkings and Christy Weiss and veterans Alex Freeman, Bryn Holman, Corrinna Howard, Kaylyn Lukocs, Janessa Matthew, Rebecca Olsen and rookie Jenna Kenzle.
“We will really miss these girls,’ said Newman.
“We are losing a lot of really good players and that is always hard. We will have our work cut out for us next season, but as we continue to build our program, we’re very optimistic.”
Spartans assistant coach is Ciaran Ormond, trainer is Denise Ormond and the team’s manager is Tammy Brewster.
Newman said the Spartans’ coaching staff is grateful to the parents and fans and the Titans Rugby Club for support and encouragement throughout the year.