Former AIC All-American Bridget Kahele in Life colors. / Photo: Tabitha Sneed Lowe
The Life University women’s rugby team has launched a unique program, one that allows student-athletes to continue their post-grad education while also playing high-level rugby in DI Elite and/or the Women’s Premier League (WPL).
“This idea really came out of conversations I have had with Life U men’s club head coach Blake Bradford, seeing the benefit of that relationship his team has with the Life undergrad team, and seeing someone as talented as Nicole Strasko have to leave and go elsewhere when her college eligibility was up,” Chou referenced the former Running Eagle now at Life West in Hayward, Calif. “So, it took hardly any convincing the university administration that this was a natural progression for our women since we have a relationship with the Atlanta Harlequins.”
College graduates with fifth-year eligibility – or even no eligibility – can receive scholarship money toward a graduate degree if they continue to play competitive rugby with the WPL Atlanta Harlequins. They’ll benefit from and enrich the high-performance environment on campus and continue to receive athletics support even after their college eligibility expires.
Harris-Jones, from UVA to Life / Photo: Tabitha Sneed Lowe
Three distinguished post-grads in Bridget Kahele (American International College), Haley Langan (Harvard) and Summer Harris-Jones (UVA) are the inaugural members of this program. All three have collegiate eligibility remaining. Langan has begun doctor of chiropractic studies; Kahele is working toward a master’s in positive psychology; and Harris-Jones is pursuing a master’s in sports health science before pursuing chiropractic next year.
“It’s been a really seamless transition with the team, in fact, they offer so much experience and are all very talented that they’ve seemed to jump right in the mix much faster than traditional first-years,” Chou explained the new element in the team.
Their integration also allows current Life student-athletes with post-grad aspirations – like Tayler VanHoosier, Angie Owen, Jesah Haun and Karissa Lacy – to witness this relationship with the Quins first-hand.
So what would a typical season look like? When post-grads transition to the WPL during the fall, they would train Tuesday, Thursday and match days with the Harlequins. They could lift and train with Life University twice per week. Players would still be committed to Atlanta in the spring, even though the WPL is out of season, and still train and condition with Life twice per week.
For more information, contact coach Chou at Rosalind.Chou@life.edu.