U20 Women’s Performance Squad and Hawk Eye Player Group announced

28 players were named to the U20 Performance squad with another 15 named to the Hawk Eye playing group

  • Performance squad named for USA Women's Under-20s
  • Hawk Eye player group named 
  • Players in both groups will receive priority attention from Women's High Performance staff 

Following the announcement of an annual age-grade plan, USA Rugby has named 28 players to its U20 Women’s Performance Squad in fifteens and another 15 to its Hawk Eye Player group in sevens.

As key development groups of Women’s High Performance, athletes within the U20 Women’s Performance Squad and Hawk Eye player group will be prioritized; receiving individual attention from national team coaches and staff to help accelerate growth.

Through the U20s Performance Squad, the program will mirror its senior national team process to prepare emerging athletes for the next stage of international sport. Similarly, the Hawk Eye Development Program functions as a stepping stone to the senior Women’s Sevens Residency Program as a support to players who show the potential to compete internationally.

USA Rugby General Manager for Women’s High Performance Emilie Bydwell said: “Having a U20 Performance Squad allows the national team to better support our top tier developing age grade players and providing them with additional resources to maximize individual growth and team performance in the annual summer competition. The model that we are currently implementing has a large net at the GHSAA level, the pool is narrowed at the U20, and then widens again at the Collegiate level, where U20 athletes not involved in the U20 Performance Squad, selection camp and competition can still participate.

“The Hawk Eye program is a pilot Long Term Athlete Development program that allows us to really invest in a focus group players over multiple years without the constraints of specific age groups. Both programs align with the core principle of investing in players year round holistically, and moving away from event based planning and development, maximizing time between assemblies.”

Selections for the U20 Women’s Performance squad were made from prior year age-grade assemblies, nominations, scouting and Regional Cup Tournaments. Four players in the senior Women’s National Team’s Performance squad are U20 eligible and have thus also been named including twins Tiana and Tiara A’au, McKenna Strong and Mary Jane Pasioles.

As a part of the U20s Performance Squad, athletes receive individual development plans, regular monitoring by coaches and access to the senior Women’s Eagles 15s Regional Training Program. A strength & conditioning regimen is also incorporated to maximize time between events.

Athletes within this group have either already been selected for an international competition in July, or have the potential to be selected from a preparation camp in June. Under-20s eligible players outside the Performance Squad -- who were identified through nominations or scouting -- will also be invited to camp to compete for selection in the summer competition.

NOMINATE A PLAYER FOR THE USA UNDER-20s

Six players selected to the Hawk Eye Playing Group are eligible for the U20s program and four are eligible for the High School All-American program. Two have already debuted with the senior national team including Kayla Canett and Lauren Thunen and Emily Henrich. The Hawk Eye program is fluid in age-range.

Players will receive annual plans which include Hawk Eye specific, age-grade and senior assemblies, as well as apprenticeships at senior events. Development plans, daily monitoring and a customized strength & conditioning program will also be incorporated to supplement the current training environment. From the Hawk Eye program, which is fluid in age-range, players can graduate to senior team programs.

USA U20 Women's Performance Squad 

PLAYER NAMEPOSITIONCLUB/SCHOOL
Tiana A'au*PropCentral Washington University
Tiara A'au*PropCentral Washington University
Ubaida AhmedBack ThreeMount St. Mary's College
Destiny ArenaHookerLindenwood University
Megan BirdFullbackDavenport University
Mckenzie BorchersCenterArmy West Point
Naomi CollinsBack RowArmy West Point
Moira DillowSecond RowLindenwood University
Morgan FreemanHooker/Scrum halfLindenwood University
Natalie GraySecond RowLindenwood University
Sophia HaleyBack RowDartmouth College
Erica JarrellSecond RowHarvard University / Beantown Rugby
Tori JonesProp/HookerUniversity of Notre Dame
Allison KoenigFlyhalf / FullbackQuinnipiac University
Jessica LaughlinFlyhalf / FullbackLindenwood University
Gio Ferguson-LewisBack RowArmy West Point
Alex DiMarcoFlyhalfArmy West Point
Mary Jane Pasioles*Scrum Half / FlyhalfCentral Washington University
Karissa PostulaCenterOregon Sports Union
Julia RiekenaBack RowArmy West Point
Darina RoeFlyhalf/ Fullback/ CenterPenn State
Jojo SkucekPropLindenwood University
Mckenna Strong*Second RowLindenwood University
Sam TancrediRecond RowLindenwood University
Noehea UlaevaCenter / FullbackLindenwood University
Nicole WantlinSecond Row / Back RowArmy West Point
Elizabeth WilsonBack RowNOVA Rugby
Glory WoolleySecond RowOklahoma State

*Part of the senior Women’s National Team 15s Performance Squad.

Women's Hawk Eye Playing Group

PLAYER NAMECLUB/SCHOOL
Susan Adegoke *Life University
Ina Bailey **Kona Bulls High School
Cassidy Bargell *Harvard University
Clara Lemal Brown *Quinnipiac University
Kate Buzby **Scottsdale HS
Kayla Canett
(joins Women's Sevens Residency May 2019)
Penn State
Lilly Durbin*Dartmouth College
Emily Henrich*
(senior Women's Eagles Performance Squad)
Dartmouth College
Taylor Marasco *Grand Canyon University
Ariana Ramsey*Dartmouth College
Taina Scott **Kahuku Rugby Club
Alex SedrickLife University
Samantha SullivanArmy West Point
Salote Tausinga **SacPal Amazons
Lauren ThunenUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

*U20 Eligible
**High School All-American eligible

About the USA Under-20s

Under-20s or U20s (formerly known as Junior All-Americans) are athletes ages 19-20 years old who participate in a club or collegiate level rugby program. Unlike the High School and Collegiate All-American programs, there is no requirement for U20s to be attached to a scholastic program; athletes can compete with a senior club, professional team or university program. The U20s participate in formal international competitions such as the U20 Women’s Tri-Nations Cup and U20 Men’s World Rugby Trophy. The U20 program is primarily 15s, but expected to expand into 7s as World Rugby offers additional opportunity for competition.

If you are an athlete who currently competes in a club or collegiate level rugby program and have questions regarding selections and upcoming assemblies for USA U20s, please contact Anna Kunkel at akunkel@usarugby.org.

About the Women's Hawk Eye Program

The Women's Hawk Eye program is a development initiative for all of Women's High Performance with assemblies held through the year to develop and test the nation's top up-and-coming athletes. Focused on exposing a new generation of players to increased levels of training, the program will host assemblies alongside senior high performance training camps to help pathway players accelerate their growth and bridge the gap to senior national teams. The program sits within USA Rugby's overall plan of building roster depth for upcoming Olympic and World Cup events on the women's side.


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