Saint now at McGill, considering trying her hand at rugby
Heading into the 2011 West Region finals, Richview’s Alexa Bennett didn’t know if she was going to be able to lead her flag football squad to victory.
The captain’s leg was afire with a fresh injury, she recalled while stealing away from the city at her cottage near Stony Lake back in August.
Like a hockey player fresh from losing teeth, the gridiron star tried to hit the field only to be surprised by her younger teammates.
“One of the girls that I had kind of been mentoring all year, a grade 9, had just caught the ball for a 90-yard run,” Bennett said. “Normally, I would try to carry the team but at that point I couldn’t even jog on (my leg).
“In the city finals, we didn’t win, but we were so proud of how far we came because a lot of the senior players were hurt at the end of the season.”
As the season wore on many of the seniors were nursing injuries, especially in the city championship against Agincourt, which the Saints lost 8-7.
Still, Bennett saw a rise in the new leaders in those playoff games, and it’s a testament to the athletic culture at the Islington Avenue and Eglinton Avenue West area school.
“Our school is full of athletes and the thing about Richview is our coaches can take any athlete, as long as they have heart, and they can turn them into an amazing player,” Bennett said. “There’s definitely a lot of kids at that school who have potential.”
It’s at Richview where Bennett forged a longtime friendship with Sam Day. Bennett was a rep basketball player who joined the team, but they needed a few more members, so Day was recruited.
“It was the first team of the year and I kind of convinced her to come because we didn’t have enough players,” Bennett said, adding coach Vic Simkus was a big influence on teaching her leadership qualities.
Along with her senior basketball coach, flag football crew chief John Kotsopoulos and phys ed head Stath Koumoutseas, a.k.a. Mr. K, round out her list of role models.
“I owe a lot of success to the coaches there because I wouldn’t be anywhere without them,” she said.
By now, Bennett is settling nicely into her new digs in Montreal, attending McGill for concurrent education and kinesiology.
She hasn’t made plans to play varsity, but she has thought about giving rugby a go.
“I’ve been talking to some people on the rugby team and I’ve never tried it, but it sounds like a really fun sport and it’s an aggressive sport,” she said. “I think that I would be good at it if I got some coaching.”
The new scenery is bound to bring about change.
“I think I’m ready to move on and see what else is out there,” Bennett said. “If I can succeed in any other ways apart from Richview.”