CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – “Ask me next week,” said Island rugby standout Alysha Corrigan with a laugh.
Corrigan’s mirth springs from asking how she thinks she’ll perform at the national east women’s rugby camp May 16-20 in Kingston, Ont.
She and former UPEI Panthers teammate Holly Jones are two of 40 Eastern Canadian ruggers invited to the senior women’s team ID camp. They left for Kingston Tuesday.
Forty players already attended the sister event for Western Canada. Both camps are made up of players in the national stream and up-and-comers like Corrigan and Jones.
If the pair impress enough at Queen’s University to reach the top 45, they stay in Kingston for another week and get a shot at the Maple Leafs development team, which goes on tour in Europe later this year. The squad is a farm team for the national senior women’s squad.
But reaching the roster is no sure thing given the collected talent at Queen’s and the inevitable hurdles.
“That team is the gateway. My goal is to get on that team. Hoops are definitely part of the challenge,” said Corrigan, a Charlottetown native. “I really can say I’ve put a lot of work into being prepared. But we’re all there for a reason, they (the other invitees) have put in a lot of work, too. I’m excited to see what happens.”
Hurdles are part of the landscape for any goal and Jones gets it. The Riverview, N.B., native broke her ankle in a game in Nova Scotia in February, so it’s been a fast track to rehab after surgery in mid-February.
And, so far, so good, said Jones, though she admitted she’s at a fitness disadvantage.
“I think it’s just disappointing. There is fitness testing (the first day) and you’re expected to be in good shape as it’s something you can control,” said Jones. “(The ankle) is pretty good and I started running a couple of weeks ago. I’m not in the best shape I could be, but I’ll be ready to go. Skill-wise I can hold my own. I’ll just do the best that I can and hope for the best.”
Also on her plate was writing her final radiology exam on Tuesday. So, Jones has studied, worked a part-time job and worked out leading up to the camp and a chance to earn a Team Canada jersey.
“It’s busy time. It’s stressful, I’m not going to lie. You just have to organize your time,” she said. “It’d be a huge honour. I’ve always dreamed playing for Canada someday.”
Both are headed to the national senior women’s championship July 15-22 in Saskatoon, Sask., with the Nova Scotia Keltics. The Keltics will tangle with the British Columbia Bears, Equipe Quebec, Ontario Blues and the Prairie Wolfpack for a national title.
Need to know
A look at a few rugby career highlights of Alysha Corrigan and Holly Jones.
– Named Atlantic University Sport (AUS) all-star in 2014.
– Named second team U Sport all-Canadian and AUS all-star in 2015 while being named co-female athlete of the year at UPEI.
– Led UPEI Panthers in scoring in 2016 with 44 points, named AUS all-star.
– Played with the Nova Scotia Keltics at the 2017 senior women’s nationals, led UPEI in scoring in 2017 with 40 points, named AUS all-star and U Sports second team all-Canadian, UPEI rugby co-MVP and co-female athlete of the year.
- Named AUS all-star in 2014.
– Named second team U Sport all-Canadian and AUS all-star in 2015.
– Second in scoring on UPEI Panthers with 30 points, named AUS all-star in 2016.
– Winner of AUS Gordon and Muriel Bennett award in 2016, UPEI Panthers women’s rugby MVP in 2016.
– Played with the Nova Scotia Keltics at the 2016 and 2017 senior women’s nationals.