As a coaching staff, our expectations going into the tournament was for the girls to have fun, enjoy the experience, compete with the best in our division, play with class the way rugby should be and do the best that they could. We knew we had the talent on our team to match up with the other teams that were invited. The team did great! They met all expectations and then some. They played their hearts out and gave it everything they had each game. They are very talented girls.
I had confidence in all three of the girls that were selected to kick in case of a tie. They have been kicking well for us all season. We are lucky to have multiple kickers on our team. Typically teams don’t have that luxury. They all have been able to practice and kick in games all season, so I knew they could meet the challenge of kicking under pressure. Winning that first game in that way built the teams confidence for the remaining two matches. Gordon McCracken, forwards coach, stated, “I was worried they would lose like that. They played much better than the score showed.”
The team played very well as a whole. With rugby, everyone has to do their jobs all the time to make the game successful and they did this. Senior and captain Kayla Seaich played very well as she is the most versatile player on the team. Kayla’s natural starting position is the 8 man in the forward pack, but also played flyhalf and inside center during the tournament. Senior Meagan Proffit was near perfection always positioning herself in the right place at the right time, all while playing on a bad ankle she injured at state. We had three girls make the All Tournament Team (recognition for the good play throughout the tournament): junior Myra Auble, scrum half; senior Janel Prince, outside center; and junior Madi Yates, prop. Other outstanding players from the weekend were senior Captain Bailey Kemp, junior forward Kiara Christensen, senior forward Stephanie Gonzalez as well as senior back Jenny King and sophomores Kali Hooker and Sarah Roberts. It was ridiculous how many girls stepped up when called to do so.
The game of rugby for girls is definitely getting stronger. It is gaining more recognition around the state as well as nationally. With the community efforts in helping us get to Nationals, I think it has made the community as a whole more aware the sport here and the girls really love it. Our program has only been in existence for three years with only one or two other teams in the state. Since our initial season, there are now seven teams in the state with a potential of a few more.