GHSAAs powered by ATAVUS selected for 2016 competitions

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - The Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS will venture on three tours in the final half of the year, with more than 80 young athletes set to receive international experience in 15s and the Olympic sport of Rugby Sevens.

Led by Head Coach Farrah Douglas, a GHSAA 'east' team will travel to Mount St. Mary's University for matches against Quebec's under-18s, while an under-16s team will also play two matches July 29 and July 31. In Seattle, BC Rugby's under-18s will hope for redemption Aug. 5 and Aug. 7 following last year's series win by the GHSAAs north of the border. Once fall arrives, a GHSAA sevens team will travel to Vichy, France, for Women European Championship 7s U18.

The competitive rugby season is nearing the end of its cycle, and Douglas and national team pathway scouts have been finalizing their notes from the year for age-grade selection. Student-athletes performing at the Regional Cup Tournaments in Colorado, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon were split into 'JV' and 'Varsity' teams, something the GHSAAs are replicating in Emmitsburg, Md.

"The U16 team is geared toward the idea that we want these young players to be exposed to the beginning of the decision-making needed to compete at the senior level, and look to increase their game understanding and skill development at a younger age," Douglas said. "By focusing on developing their rugby ability through skill development and early exposure to pressured collective and individual decision-making skills, we are able to encourage these players to explore and express their athleticism within the GHSAA game structures.

"Although the aim is still looking to continue to develop players, our U18 squad is in the beginning stages of transitioning to concepts of improvement and performance. We want to develop an ongoing conversation about how to improve not just skill, but playing ability, shifting some of the focus toward the facilitation of player learning through emphasizing questioning and player engagement in the GHSAA structure."

The support of ATAVUS since late 2014 has been instrumental in allowing the team to assemble and tour multiple times a year, and the GHSAA 'west' team will be in the sponsor's backyard while the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games kick off in Brazil. The GHSAAs will be housed at Seattle University before match days out at Magnuson Park, home of ATAVUS camps and local senior clubs.

"Because we are such a large country geographically it is always tough with only five RCT events as selection venues," Douglas said. "However, the combination of the GHSAA Winter Camps and RCTs, in addition to the ATAVUS resident camps this summer, has enabled us to evaluate a larger number of high school players."

The GHSAAs first assembled for the Las Vegas Invitational sevens tournament in early 2015 before traveling to British Columbia for two matches against BC Rugby U18 Women's last year. Ten girls part of that squad return to the 2016 GHSAA teams, giving Douglas even more experience in the roster. Assistant Coach Emilie Bydwell will not be with the team on the 15s tours as she will be with Team USA in Rio, but she will accompany the girls to France for the Sept. 10-11 sevens tournament.

"While Bydwell is an integral part of the GHSAA staff, the opportunity to work with Team USA was one that could not be missed," Douglas said. "The GHSAA staff will look to former Eagles and Elite Coach Development program participants Kate Daley and Shawn Pittman to bring their expertise and experience to assist with the upcoming east and west competitions."

ATAVUS has supported the GHSAAs to ensure equitable opportunities in rugby for young women. ATAVUS will continue to sponsor the team's preparation and travel to play in elite tournaments across the U.S. and select international competitions. Three GHSAA alumna - Lilly Durbin, Tess Feury, and Richelle Stephens - have gone on to win senior caps for the 15s and sevens Eagles since the program began, with more than a handful of others graduating to the AIG Women's Junior All-Americans and AIG Women's Collegiate All-Americans.

The GHSAAs' European roster will be confirmed in the coming days.

UPDATE: Aug. 1

The GHSAA squad for Women European Championship 7s U18s includes five players selected to a 2016 15s tour, as well as Lilly Durbin, an internationally-capped Eagle on the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS | East U18

Naomi Colin

Emma Conrad

Jordan Cowan

Olivia Duba

Lelyss Eligio

Hannah Garcia

Natalie Gray

Delia Hellander

Alyssa Henneberg

Emily Henrich

Sydeney Hugus

Lynnzee Jordan

Grace Kiraly

Paige Krahling

Jodi Losch

Hannah Moran

Jess Nagie

Allie Ramage

Darina Roe

Annie Rolf

Hannah Savin

Brianna Whitfield

Elizabeth Wilson

Erin Wright

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS | East U18

v. Quebec U18s - Friday, July 29

v. Quebec U18s - Sunday, July 31

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS | East U16

Gigi Agliardo

Delani Bargell

McKenzie Bochers

KC Byrd

Samantha Carroll

Kaitlyn Delapaz

Isabella Devore

Alex DiMarco

Grace Estes

Lauren Feddridge

Brooke Garcia

Fane Haungatau

Addison Horsley

Reagan Hunter

Madison Jumper

Natalie Locke

Leilani Mendoza

Delaney Rakuita

Megan Reed

Punipuoa Skipps

Joannah Skucek

Samantha Tancredi

Salote Tausinga

Hailey Thomas

Alexandra Wantlin

Camille White

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS | East U16

v. Quebec U16s - Friday, July 29

v. Quebec U16s - Sunday, July 31

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAUVS | Coaching Staff

Farrah Douglas - Head Coach

Ricardo Ramirez - Assistant Coach

Kate Daley - Assistant Coach

Katherine Henry - Physiotherapist

Sarah Leslie - Physiotherapist

Carrie DuBray - Manager

Jacque Harrell - Manager

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS | West U18

Sui A'Au

Tiana A'Au

Tiara A'Au

Legacy Adams

Destiny Arena

Cassidy Bargell

Ceara Bettcher

Lily Brown

Mirielle Cordoa

Atumata Hingano

Seini Imarial

Mililani Leui

Lolohea Makaafi

Daisy Manoa

Rian Moala

Cheyene Nielson

Winter OBrien

MJ Paisoles

Ana Polaulo

Julia Riekena

Malili Schaap

Alexandra Sedrick

McKenna Strong

Finau Tamaviena

Mele Tausinga

Nia Toliver

Penina Tuilaepa

Brianna Vasquez

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS | West U18

v. BC U18s - Friday, Aug. 5

v. BC U18s - Sunday, Aug. 7

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS | Coaching Staff

Farrah Douglas - Head Coach

Ricardo Ramirez - Assistant Coach

Shawn Pittman - Assistant Coach

Sarah Leslie - Physiotheraphist

Carrie DuBray - Manager

Jacque Harrell - Manager

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS | Women European Championship 7s U18

Suiluana A'au

Cassidy Bargell

Kayla Canett

Lilly Durbin

Kathleen Gearhart

Renee Gonzalez

Lolohea Makaafi

Daisy Manoa

Julia Riekena

Alexandria Sedrick

Kathryn Stowers

Charity Tenney

Nia Toliver

Atumata Hingano

Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS | Coaching Staff

Farrah Douglas - Coach

Emilie Bydwell - Coach

Sarah Leslie - Physiotherapist