September 19, 2012, EDMONTON – Canada West women’s rugby coaches have decided that there is every reason to believe the six-time defending conference champion Lethbridge Pronghorns will do it again.
Among the five coaches, four voted the Horns at #1, while the other first-place tally went to Alberta. Coaches could not place a vote their own team.
Here are the complete voting results, based on a 14-12-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system (first-place votes in parentheses):
1. Lethbridge (4) 20
2. Alberta (1) 13
3. Calgary 11
4. Victoria 6
5. UBC 5
The Lethbridge Pronghorns are on the verge of equalling a mark once thought impossible, the seven consecutive Canada West championships claimed by the Alberta Pandas women’s rugby team from 1999-2005. Despite the departure of some key players, the Horns remain the league’s top threat to qualify for Nationals, in search of a fourth national title.
Only once in the 13-year team history have the Alberta Pandas not won at least a conference silver medal, and despite added competition within the conference, they may have the tools to keep that streak intact after edging the surging Calgary Dinos In the 2012 preseason coaches’ poll. Alberta is ranked #8 in CIS, Calgary #10, showing just how close the race for second could be when it comes time for the CW Final Four, hosted by the Pandas.
The Victoria Vikes see several key student-athletes graduate after going 1-3-0 in 2011. The Vikes saw the third-year Dinos squad race past them in the standings, and they look to reclaim that third spot in hopes of a better seeding at the conference event.
The UBC Thunderbirds placed fifth in the coaches’ poll after going winless in 2011 – 0-4-0. The T-Birds peaked in 2009, going 2-2, placing third at the conference event and making a trip to CIS Nationals. Led by All-Star Megan Hamm, UBC aims to get back to that level and remain competitive in a conference loaded with world-class talent.
Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), winning at least 10 CIS national titles every year, 1997 to 2010. Comprised of 16 schools from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada West produces numerous major award winners and Academic All-Canadian student-athletes each year, with many going on to athletic success around the globe in pro leagues or events such as the Olympics, Paralympics or Universiade Games. “cwuaa” on Twitter.