Looking ahead to a year in defence of their national title, the Gee-Gees women’s rugby team is stocking up on talent for the 2018 season.
One key geographical area of focus for head coach Jen Boyd was the maritime provinces, in particular Nova Scotia. Many of the new recruits were developed in the Nova Scotia Keltics provincial rugby system that is known to produce high quality athletes.
“I have a good relationship with the coach of the Keltics and he has sent me some really great players,” said Boyd. “Three of them are also coming from King's-Edgehill School, which is Alex Ondo’s old school.”
The trio from King's-Edgehill in Windsor, NS are Amy Marchand-Dion, Kenzie Cecchetto, and Morgan Rogers. The trio was profiled recently in the Windsor newspaper, The Hants Journal.
“I think some of them will have an immediate impact on the team,” said Boyd. “I’ve gotten a chance to see them play and I think they’ll be really big recruits.”
More maritime connections are present in the additions of Augustine Cove, PEI’s Ellen Murphy, who is a three-time U SPORTS national champion and transfer from St. Francis Xavier University. Furthermore, the Gee-Gees are also welcoming Ritaj Abdoullah and Jessica McPherson, both Nova Scotians that developed in the Keltics system.
“I’m very excited to have them here,” said Boyd. “These players have been involved in high performance programs and have been in the weight room, doing conditioning all year long and playing rugby. They want a challenge and know that there’s a lot of opportunity in Ottawa.”
Locally, the team is welcoming Meredith Sirrs from Colonel By High School, Sophie Duguay from Ashbury College, Vivian Achor from Immaculata High School, and Talia Hennessy from Heritage College in Gatineau.
Two out-of-area recruits that could be of high impact for the Gee-Gees are Sarah White, a back from St. Peter Catholic Secondary School in Peterborough, Ont., and Tylo Borsboom, a back-row player from Winnipeg, Man.
Boyd believes that the team’s recruiting choices so far have followed a basic formula that the team has used to achieve the highest level of success in Canada.
“We’ve gotten a little bit more exposure after the championship, but I think recruits know the program and what they’re buying into coming to play rugby for us. We get kids who are willing to put in the work, it’s not about the stars, it’s about getting people that work hard, are good people, and want to be held accountable. Using that formula, it’s a lot easier to grow.”
For more recruiting updates, stay tuned to the team’s Instagram account at @geegees_wrugby, as well as the Gee-Gees website throughout the summer.