Photo courtesy Washington Athletic Club
Seattle Atavus won the 2017 USA Rugby Club 7s National Championship, but the partnership between the Atavus Academy and Seattle Saracens did not renew itself this summer. Fortunately, the Washington Athletic Club (WAC) added a women’s 7s team to its sports lineup this year, and those Seattle-based players have the opportunity to defend their title under a different banner.
“It’s really been an amazing fit. The WAC offers lots of benefits to the 7s program: fitness programs, gym, skills sessions, pool recovery, etc., as well as provides funding for the team, which allows players to just focus on playing,” WAC 7s captain Kristine Sommer enthused. “The whole club is 100% behind the women’s and men’s 7s teams, and it’s pretty amazing to be part of a community that is so accepting of a new sport!”
Sommer indicated that approximately half of last year’s title-winning team have been active this summer but that injuries have prevented some key players from booting up. Fortunately, the ranks have been bolstered by some new talent.
“There will be a lot of new names under the WAC women’s 7s side – some you’ve heard of, like Kayla Hunkin-Clark and Jennine Duncan, and some you haven’t heard of: Emily Colesworthy and Christa Banks,” Sommer explained. “Definitely keep an eye on both! And of course, we’re welcoming USA Eagle Carrie White back on the roster!”
AIC graduate and All-American Hunkin-Clark and Duncan, who’s represented the USA Falcons, attended the USA 15s high performance camp in Chula Vista last week along with Sommer, a capped 7s and 15s Eagle. Colesworthy is a former NIRA All-American with Norwich University, and Christa Banks (Scioto Valley, 1823) has played internationally with the Ravens and Stars.
But it was ORSU that set the standard in the Pacific Northwest this summer and the Jesters were beating WAC in the run-up to the Pacific North championship. The two teams met NorCal’s Life West and Berkeley in Tacoma, and the quartet battled for three seeds to nationals. In the end, the Gladiatrix took first, WAC second and the All Blues third.
“There was a lot of competition during the [Pacific North] Championship – different types of play from all three teams,” Sommer reflected. “Each team gave us a different look, so I think it was good for us to see how we can change our defense to manage different attacking sides. Gave us a better look at our strengths and weaknesses.”
Washington Athletic Club is competing in Pool C against an all-east coast lineup: New York, which repeated as Atlantic North champion with some separation; Atlanta, which won the South way back in June; and NOVA, the longest-running attendee at nationals, which comes out of the ultra-competitive Mid-Atlantic.
“All in all, I’m feeling really good about nationals this year. We came into the 7s season not beating ORSU one time. We came out of [Pacific North] Championships with our first win against them and a seed to New York,” Sommer concluded. “Our team was able to come together and put in the hard work. We finally showed some connections and transitions that we’ve been waiting for all summer. I think people will be surprised and excited to see the WAC women’s side play in New York.”
For more information on this weekend’s club 7s national championship, visit www.usaclub7s.com.
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