Casa Grande welcomes AIG WJAAs for Can-Am Selection Camp

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Thirty-six athletes eligible for the AIG Women's Junior All-Americans have been invited to the Can-Am Selection Camp at Grande Sports Academy June 30 - July 3 in preparation for the under-20 National Team's two-game Can-Am Series with Rugby Canada's U19s Aug. 3-7.

Head Coach Wil Snape will welcome back four athletes that were members of the team that swept Canada in the two-game series held at Central Washington University in 2015. The age-grade program has not played competitive rugby against international competition since, though players in the pool have convened at the National All-Star Competitions (NASCs) and have represented the U.S. at the under-18 and under-23 levels in the time between WJAA competition years.

"Our goals, as always, are to put the players in a position to improve every day and understand what it takes to become an Eagle," Snape said. "It's a longer Can-Am Series, so the players will have to adjust to tournament-style conditions and variable training loads. As a squad we will need to come together quickly and create an environment and team ethic that will lead us to success. We just can't wait to get out there and challenge Canada again!"

Sheila Decker (Norwich University), Michel Navarro (Central Washington), Emily Prentice (Harvard University), and Katherine Ramage (Dartmouth College) were all active WJAAs in 2015 as high school student-athletes. This year, Snape has included four athletes in high school in the selection camp: Natalie Gray (Colo.), Maryjane Pasioles (Calif.), Anne Rolf (Ohio), and Erin Wright (Wisc.).

Ten student-athletes competed in USA Rugby College National Championship Finals in the spring for Davenport University, Kennesaw State University, Lindenwood University and Notre Dame College. Playoff schools Brigham Young University, Life University, Tulane University, and University of Central Florida are also represented, while each of the returning athletes come from varsity programs.

"Selections for camp were made through a combination of players that have come through the High School All-American pool, players that attended the NASC in December, and our scouting network throughout the collegiate seasons," Snape said. "I was particularly impressed by the standard of play at the National Championship event at Life University this year, and there were a few people added directly from that weekend."

Nine WJAA alumni played against a senior developmental side from Canada as AIG Women's Collegiate All-Americans last year in warmups to the senior Women's Rugby Super Series. The National Team connection goes further than team selection, with coaches between the age-grade and senior teams communicating training plans and game-play styles to better facilitate movement through the pathway.

"Both on attack and defense we want the players to play without fear and with relentless energy," Snape said. "On attack we'll be focusing on creating momentum and providing framework that empowers the players to play what is in front of them and create opportunities. This means we want players that are confident with the ball in hand, are committed to keeping the ball alive, and using the full width of the field. In defense, we want high work rate and line speed to prevent the ball getting outside us."

The Can-Am Series will feature four matches between U.S. and Canadian age-grade teams in Ottawa. The GHSAAs will play Aug. 1 and 5, with the WJAA matches scheduled for Aug. 3 and 7.

AIG Women's Junior All-Americans | Can-Am Selection Camp

Name School/Club
Kaino Ah Quin Brigham Young University
Milla Anderson Dartmouth College
Mireille Codjia Lindenwood University
Adriana Davids Life University
McKenna Davis Lindenwood University
Sheila Decker Norwich University
Jade Garcia Life University
Natalie Gray Summit High School (CO)
Akilah Guzman Kennesaw State University
Atumata Hingano Life West
Camille Johnson Dartmouth College
Hannah Lewandowski Central Washington University
Teigan MacDonald University of California, San Diego
Lolohea Makaafi Seattle Saracens
Talyor Makowski Life University
Isabel Manu Lindenwood University
Joanna Moreira Central Washington University
Michel Navarro Central Washington University
Christina Norman University of Central Florida
Olivia Ortiz Davenport University
Maryjane Pasioles Sacramento PD PAL (CA)
Emily Prentice Harvard University
Katherine Ramage Dartmouth College
Glorida Reyes Northern Virginia Women's Rugby
Anne Rolf Saint Joseph Academy (OH)
Becca Rosko Dartmouth College
Alexandria Sedrick Life University
Madison Slaught Colorado State University
Alexandra Srasser Notre Dame College
Clare Sullivan Tulane University
Adi Finau Tamaivena Seattle Saracens
Kristina Tomelloso Saint Mary's College
Caitlin Weigel Harvard University
Emma Workman Brigham Young University
Erin Wright Catholic Memorial HS (WI)
Ilona Zaishliuk Notre Dame College