BOULDER, Colo. – Twenty-seven young female athletes will make history next weekend as the first bre to compete in a 15s match as the Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS head north of the border for a two-match series against BC Rugby U18 Women’s.
Brentwood College School in British Columbia will host the Friday, Aug. 21, and Sunday, Aug. 23, match days.
Head Coach Farrah Douglas, along with assistant coaches Emilie Bydwell and Anna Kunkel, selected the majority of the touring squad from the most recent Stars and Stripes Camp at University of Northern Colorado. Three players – Lilly Durbin, Becca Jane Rosko, and Nia Toliver – represented the GHSAAs in the Olympic format of Rugby Sevens at the Las Vegas Invitational tournament.
The 47-strong Camp in Greeley served a variety of purposes for both coaches and players. With Douglas overseeing the coach development side of things, as well as taking note of which players could make the international jump, Bydwell and Kunkel were able to focus on teaching the Women’s Eagles game plan.
“Out attack plan we started to institute at Stars and Stripes was similar to what the senior team did at the Women’s Rugby Super Series,” Douglas said. “That would’ve been hard for us to be able to try without having Anna and Emilie as part of the Camp coaching staff.
“That’s the new challenge for us: asking the high school players to play the game the way the senior team is going to be playing the game.”
The restructure of the Women’s Eagles Pathway earlier in the year ensured there would be more cooperation between the senior national team and the age-grade programs. With the support of ATAVUS, the formation of and subsequent competitive opportunities for the GHSAAs will give more and more young girls an entry point into the pathway.
“The game is growing at an exponential level at the age-grade level,” Douglas said. “If we think about what we hope to accomplish long-term, it’s to be able to consistently compete with the top-tier teams. For us to be able to compete, we have to start to develop that piece of our high performance program, and I think what ATAVUS has done is provided us with some resources to do that.
“We are now one of the first entry points into the pathway. It’s really about making sure the players understand how we want to play the game internationally, and what skills, positional and individual, they need to be successful at those levels of the game, and putting them in the environment to do that.”
Before the February tournament in Sin City, Durbin represented the U.S. as an AIG Women’s Junior All-American, while Leah Ingold attended the National All-Star Competition this summer as an under-20 candidate.
Toliver, who has spent time playing rugby abroad in New Zealand and comes from the highly-rated ICEF Rugby program in Los Angeles, recently competed at the 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships.
“I hope that, in addition to bringing leadership to the team, they more experienced players will be able to facilitate some of the understanding in terms of what we’re looking to accomplish on attack and defense, because they’ve had the time working with the WJAA coaching staff as well as the veteran players that are represented in that side,” Douglas said.
The GHSAAs are scheduled to train at Central Washington University alongside the WJAAs beginning Tuesday, Aug. 18, before leaving for BrentwoodThursday, Aug. 20.
|Girls High School All Americans|
|Tiara A’au||Prop||Grant (Ore.)|
|Sui A’au||Center||Grant (Ore.)|
|Destiny Arena||Hooker||Fallbrook (Calif.)|
|Kayla Canett||Flyhalf||Fallbrook (Calif.)|
|Lilly Durbin||Fullback||Fallbrook (Calif.)|
|Bayleigh Gable||Flyhalf||Grandville (Mich.)|
|Hannah Garcia||Lock||Warsaw (Ind.)|
|Renee Gonzalez||Flanker||Armstrong (Minn.)|
|Natalie Gray||Lock||Summit (Colo.)|
|Emily Henrich||Center||Orchard Park (N.Y.)|
|Leah Ingold||Center||Kent (Wash.)|
|Mililani Leui||No. 8||South Bay (Calif.)|
|Hannah Lewandowski||Prop/Hooker||Rainier Plateau (Wash.)|
|Lolohea Makaafi||Center||Kent (Wash.)|
|Taylor Makowski||Lock||Northside (Colo.)|
|Rian Moala||Lock||South Bay (Calif.)|
|Joanna Moreira||Flanker||Kent (Wash.)|
|Bianca Ortiz-Pallen||Hooker/Flanker||Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.)|
|MaryJane Pasioles||Scrumhalf||Sacramento Amazons (Calif.)|
|Ana Polaulu||Prop||Sacramento Amazons (Calif.)|
|Becca Jane Rosko||Fullback/Wing||Summit (Colo.)|
|Adi Finau Tamaivena||Prop||Kent (Wash.)|
|Nia Toliver||Wing||ICEF (Calif.)|
|Alaina Valenciano||Scrumhalf||Rainier Plateau (Wash.)|
|Caitlin Weigel||Center||Hudson (Ohio)|
|Daz Williams||Wing||West Shore United (Pa.)|
|Emma Workman||Flanker||Fallbrook (Calif.)|
|Adel Arndt||Lock/Prop||Vanier High School|
|Bailey Burke||Lock||Lord Tweedsmuir High School|
|Zoe DeFaveri||Prop||Windsor High School|
|Chloe Baird-Titcombe||Flanker||Vanier High School|
|Danika Elias||Flanker||Sardis High School|
|Emma Pfleiderer||Lake City High School|
|Hannah Morten||Hooker||Cowichan High School|
|Mackenzie Carson||#8, Fly Half, Center||Yale High School|
|Sofie Kennedy||Hooker/#8||Stelley’s High School|
|Taya Gagnon||Hooker||Vanier High School|
|Delaney Martin||Lock/Flanker||Brentwood College School|
|Violet Manuel||Lock/Flanker||South Kamloops Senior Secondary|
|Brooklyn Navarette||Prop/Flanker||Brentwood College School|
|Kadeja White||Prop||Robert Bateman High School|
|Lauren Sargent||Scrum||Half Vanier High School|
|Dawson German||Fly Half||Vanier High School|
|Avi Sharabi||Scrum Half||Brentwood College School|
|Carleigh Walters||Wing/Full Back||Lake City High School|
|Brooke Bazian||Wing/Center||South Kamloops Senior Secondary|
|McKenna Haz||Fly Half||Brentwood College School|
|Maddie Gold||Centre||Vanier High School|
|Laura Pfleiderer||Full Back/ Scrum Half/ Centre||Lake City High School|
|Denise Roy Full||Back/Wing||Brentwood College School|
|Ciel Arbour-Boehme||Centre Brentwood||College School|
|Olivia Kellinghusen||Wing/Full Back||Vanier High School|
|Mariah Fontana||Wing||Cowichan High School|
|Emily Lindsay||Wing||Cowichan High School|
Head Coach – Marius Felix
Assistant Coaches – Steve Cowie, Jen Ross, Dave Grisdale
Athletic Therapist – Naomi Ogawa