McCoy holds first High Performance Camp at Olympic Training Center

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Women's Eagles Sevens Head Coach Jules McCoy has invited 15 athletes to the Olympic Training Center in southern California to join the program's residents for her first high performance camp, running Monday, Oct. 19, through Friday, Oct. 23.

Familiar names returning to the United States Olympic Committee's warm-weather facility include former residents Ryan Carlyle, Bianca Dalal, Jessica Javelet - who most recently suited up for the Eagles at Atlanta 7s in 2015 - and Deven Owsiany.

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McCoy, hired to replace the long-serving Ric Suggitt as head coach of the nation's Olympic Rugby Sevens national team last month, will be familiar with a number of the young women headed to Chula Vista. Rachel Griendling, Ashley Perry, and Abby Vestal won the 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Women's Club 7s National Championship under McCoy with American Rugby Pro Training Center.

Others, including Ashlee Byrge of Davenport University, Nicole Heavirland of Army West Point, and Naya Tapper of University of North Carolina, are taking time away from campus life and their schools' rugby programs to firmly plant themselves in the minds of the Eagles' coaches as the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series approaches.

"The invitations that we have are going to be some eye-turners," McCoy said. "You're going to have some people you've never heard of before, you're going to see some people who are getting another opportunity, and you're going to have some people who've been here before who we're going to bring back.

"We're going to bring some diversity back in here and we're going to give everybody a shot."

Carmen Farmer, a member of the 15s Eagles that finished sixth at Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 in France, brought a veteran presence to the sevens team for the 2015 NACRA Sevens Championships earlier this summer. In Cary, N.C., the U.S. qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games.

Richelle Stephens, 19, earned her first Eagles cap at the regional qualification tournament and won a silver medal at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games a week later. She was a member of the USA Rugby AIG Women's Collegiate All-American Sevens team - along with fellow camp attendees Meya Bizer, Byrge, Amy Naber, and Nia Wiliams - that defeated McCoy's APRTC 7s side twice at Elite City Sevens at the end of August.

"We've got to be able to finalize our grand pool and start pivoting towards Rio here pretty quick," McCoy said. "Especially for the players here - many of them have been here for a number of years, and they deserve to know whether they are still in the running or not.

"It's going to be a little tricky because of the injuries and then with giving newer players opportunities and trying to get them some experience on the circuit."

A final pre-Series high performance camp will be held at the OTC in November.