Article by: Ryan S.

With second season now in full swing, Bearcat teams have recently displayed their sporting talents at this season’s Pre-IASAS exchanges throughout the region.  These practice tournaments provide athletes with exposure to higher levels of competition in preparation for IASAS this coming January, where they will compete against some of the top international schools. This week’s BT Pre-IASAS spotlight shines on the Varsity Girls Touch Team who competed in Singapore two weeks ago at this highly-esteemed tournament.

Led by veteran coach, Mr. Dodd, and newcomer, Ms. Durkin, the varsity touch team has its sights set on defending the gold medal that they won at last year’s IASAS tournament. Despite the absence of several key players who graduated last school year, Pre-IASAS results prove the Bearcats are still in the running for an outstanding performance at this year’s IASAS. The girls played generally well throughout the tournament, although results did not reflect their overall remarkable performance. The team narrowly lost to the Singapore Tanglin School by 3-0, TAS 1-0, ISKL 3-1, and to Singapore’s UNWC by 3-2. When asked about the team’s performance, Coach Durkin commented, “It’s always nice to win, but more importantly at this stage of the season, players gained valuable touch experience in pressure situations.” Practice tournaments such as these provide experience development for the younger and less experienced players; Coach Durkin highlighted that “some players really impressed us by stepping up to the Pre-IASAS challenge.” Despite the performance in Singapore, Ms. Durkin believes that if the team can continue to narrow the gap between the experienced players and those new to the varsity environment, the team will be cohesively ready to dominate by the time IASAS comes around.

Coach Durkin, who also teaches MS PE, hails from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, where she had a successful coaching tenure at the Saint Joseph’s Maori Girls’ College. In addition to her involvement with touch rugby, she has also played and coached a variety of sports, including netball and basketball. With reference to this year being her first year at ISM, she commented that “it has been a pleasure to walk into such a strong touch program that has clear links from MS, to JV, to the varsity level.” Additionally, she also praises the work ethic and commitment of her new players, which she points out is not always the case in all schools. With this work ethic, a strong core of returning players, and exciting new talent, she believes the team has “as good a chance as any other team to do well in both IASAS and the local league this year.” As the saying goes, “It’s not where you start that counts, but where you finish,” and with the prowess of coaches such as Mrs. Durkin, our Bearcats are sure to bounce back from their rough round in Singapore. And the Bearcats’ current tie for first place with the Puma Ladies Touch Team in their local league confirm that they remain a force to be reckoned with.

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