CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – USA Rugby Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS Head Coach Farrah Douglas held a regional camp at Grande Sports Academy Jan. 15-18.
The West Winter Camp, which precedes the East Winter Camp to be held at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla., Feb. 12-15, saw 37 young athletes train with the national team staff before finishing the assembly with a Monday morning match.
The GHSAAs had their first tours in both 15s and sevens in 2015, with one of two sevens teams winning its Las Vegas Invitational division while the 15s team swept BC Rugby U18 Women’s in a two-match series north of the border. Using players identified through the USA Rugby Stars and Stripes Camp, as well as the Regional Cup Tournaments, the early 2016 assemblies allow the coaching staff to get an extra look at players with pathway aspirations.
“The overall purpose of the GHSAA Winter Camps is identifying and assessing players within the HSAA pool and then further developing select or high-performing players through additional training and international competition against Canadian teams,” Douglas said.
The GHSAA coaching staff in Arizona was rounded out by assistants Emilie Bydwell, Anna Kunkel, and Ricardo Ramirez – each of whom have coached at the Stars and Stripes Camp – as well as physiotherapist Ashley Cowan. In addition to her rugby knowledge as an Eagle and Rugby World Cup Sevens bronze medalist, Bydwell, who is also the head of rugby programming at ATAVUS, has witnessed first-hand the play of HSAA-eligible athletes from around the country at USA Rugby Academy camps.