Women’s Eagles player pool for 2016 competitions announced

BOULDER, Colo. - The 2016 player pool for the Women's Eagles, comprised of 49 athletes, has been announced.

The Women's National Team pathway has been revamped since Women's Rugby World Cup 2014, where the national team finished sixth with two victories. The WNT Pathway has combined all the age-grade teams with the Women's Eagles, allowing for enhanced collaboration and accelerated player development. This is reflected in the number of players in the Eagle pool that are still eligible for age-grade programs.

"The new structure allows for there to be visibility from the Eagles all the way down to the Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS," said Pete Steinberg, Women's Eagle head coach. "That visibility enables players that have the potential to be identified earlier and for them to receive the appropriate development opportunities."

There are 16 players in the pool that are still age-grade eligible, with each of them having competed their way into the pool.

"Each player has been seen in elite competition, with the winter National All-Star Competition being the most powerful selection vehicle," said Steinberg.

The winter NASC brought together the best senior, college, and under-20 players in the country to compete in a week-long competition. The structure allows for players who play well to be promoted to the level above. This winter, Frankie Sands played her way into the senior competition and now into the Eagle pool.

"Frankie is a great example of how the pathway should work," said Steinberg. "She showed that she was a superior in the college game, moved up to the seniors, and demonstrated that she could play well there. She earned her spot by her play, which is how it should work."

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The pool is relatively inexperienced, with only seven players that represented the team at the World Cup in France in 2014, but it does include nine players that were capped for the first time at the 2015 Women's Rugby Super Series and 21 total players that have previously represented the Eagles.

There is a strong college flavor with strong representation from the top college teams in the country with Central Washington, Penn State, and Stanford all having multiple current or former players on the list.

"The development of the high school and the college game is really having an impact on the selections of the national teams," said Women's National Team Pathway Manager Tam Breckenridge. "Not only are players starting the game younger, but they are going to colleges that can offer them a high performance environment so their physical and rugby development is accelerated."

The pool will expand throughout the year. Players can play their way into the Eagle pool by participating in a National Championship competition or through a National Tracking Camp (NTC). Once a player has been identified they will be invited to an NASC and their performance in that competition will determine their selection.

This pool of players will be supported with high performance programs to help their development delivered through BridgeAthletic platform. The next event for the pool will be the NASC in June, and that will lead to the 2016 Women's Rugby Super Series with matches against England, Canada, and France. Players that retain eligibility for age-grade programs may still be selected for those events to maximize their development.

Residents training with the Women's Eagles Sevens program at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., were not considered for selection into the Eagle pool. However, they will be considered for future events with the Eagles.

Bernheim, Rebekah "Rose"BackColorado Springs
Braaten, SylviaBackTwin Cities Amazons
Bryson, RuthBackBerkeley All Blues
Buonopane, SarahBackBeantown
Dalal, BiancaBackSan Diego Surfers
Feury, TessBackPenn State University
Foster, MeganBackLife West
Lockwood, HannahBackSan Diego Surfers
Lui, Jennifer 'Jenny'BackGlendale
Morgan, SaskiaBackBrown University
Okoro, Uzoamaka "Uzo"BackBrown University
Overcash, ErinBackAt Large
Owsiany, DevenBackSan Diego Surfers
Rhode, LaurenBackNew York Rugby Club
Rozier, KimberlyBackWashington Furies
Sands, FrancisBackNorwich University
Serevi, Asinate (Nate)BackCentral Washington University
Sever, JenniferBackLife West
Stockert, KelsiBackSeattle Saracens
Trujillo, Elizabeth "Tru"BackSan Diego Surfers
Annis, BayleeForwardBurlington
Augustyn, KathrynForwardBerkeley All Blues
Benson, CatherineForwardLife West
Bridges, StaceyForwardTwin Cities Amazons
Cairns, Elizabeth "Bitsy"ForwardPenn State University
Chobot, SarahForwardGlendale
Daley, KathleenForwardAt Large
Dunn, YejadaiForwardDartmouth College
Faaee, Tiffany "Tiff"ForwardNew York Rugby Club
Fetu'u, FriedaForwardBerkeley All Blues
Fonua, MaxineForwardBerkeley All Blues
Gray, Jordan "Jordan"ForwardBrigham Young University
Johnson, BaileyForwardMinnesota State U-Mankato
Kinsella, MollyForwardGlendale
Kitlinski, JoannaForwardGlendale
Mailau, Eta "E"ForwardVipers
McGuire, ValForwardNorwich University
Pankey, Samantha "Sam"ForwardWashington Furies
Parsons, SaraForwardAt Large
Phiel, ChristianeForwardChicago North Shore
Pinson, MeganForwardLife West
Pipkin, TaylahForwardPenn State University
Reinhardt, JamilaForwardAugusta
Rogers, HopeForwardPenn State University
Ryan, RachelForwardGlendale
Schafer, Haley "Hales"ForwardCentral Washington University
Strasko, NicoleForwardLife University
Washington, AlyciaForwardHartford Wild Roses
Wehrwein, FrancesForwardBerkeley All Blues