WSS fields rugby team 

Grade 8 and 9 students take part

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Try hard Whistler Secondary School hosted a rugby program for Grade 8 and 9 students this spring and fall.
  • Photo Submitted
  • Try hard Whistler Secondary School hosted a rugby program for Grade 8 and 9 students this spring and fall.

Whistler Secondary School has rugby in its ranks.

This fall, the program focused primarily on building skills among its Grade 8 and 9 players, but it received the chance to play St. George's School late in the season, with the Grade 8 team and Grade 9 team each earning a win and a loss as part of a home-and-home series.

Coach Pete Train credited the Grade 9s in particular for toughing out a 29-24 victory against an established program.

"We had to fight all the way through the game," he said. "St. George's just wouldn't let up.

"We did pretty well."

While the win was a cherry on top, Train was more enthused about the progress the players made, starting as novices and quickly picking up the game to play well against a seasoned opponent. The club started with six weeks of practices in the spring and another six upon returning to class this fall.

"We take it seriously, but it's more just about the game rather than being there to win the game," Train said. "It was more about education than rugby."

Members of the Axemen Rugby Club were a major help to the club, Train said, as Blake Mahovic, Cian Starogardzki and Fraser McGaw all chipped in to coach.

"They could provide a model for the kids," Train said. "They were a big help."

In all, 35 players came out throughout the course of the season, a number Train hopes to grow not only by returning this core next year when they're in Grades 9 and 10, but also with a new crop of eighth graders. As well, Train hopes to start a girls' program alongside the boys' next season.

"We were ready to start from scratch," he said. "Then they can learn the game at a younger age, ideally, and next year we can have Grade 8, 9, 10 and then 8, 9, 10, 11.

"It really did produce rugby players."

Train was also thrilled to see so much support for the program, as students, staff and parents came out to the home games, while the cheerleading squad was also out to bolster those in attendance.

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