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.
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.
U20 15S PERFORMANCE SQUAD
Player – Position(s), Current Team, HIGH SCHOOL TEAM
Tiana A’au * – P, Central Washington Univ / GRANT, OR
Tiara A’au * – P, Central Washington Univ / GRANT, OR
Ubaida Ahmed – W/FB, Mount St. Mary’s / FORT HUNT, VA
Destiny Arena – H, Lindenwood Univ / FALLBROOK, CA
Megan Bird – FB, Davenport Univ / OAK CREEK, WI
Mckenzie Borchers – C, Army West Point / KINGWOOD, TX
Naomi Collins – FL/8, Army West Point / FALLBROOK, CA
Moira Dillow – L, Lindenwood Univ / FORT COLLINS, CO
Morgan Freeman – H/SH, Lindenwood Univ / FT MIAMI, FL
Natalie Gray – L, Lindenwood Univ / SUMMIT, CO
Sophia Haley – FL/8, Dartmouth / HOPKINS, MN
Erica Jarrell – L, Harvard / Beantown Rugby (CROSSOVER)
Tori Jones – P/H, Univ Notre Dame / PENN, IN
Allison Koenig – FH/FB, Quinnipiac Univ / CATHOLIC MEMORIAL, WI
Jessica Laughlin – FH/FB, Lindenwood Univ / BROKEN ARROW, OK
Gio Ferguson-Lewis – FL/8, Army West Point / PLAY RUGBY, NY
Alex DiMarco – FH, Army West Point / WHITE HORSE, PA
Mary Jane Pasioles * – SH/FH, Central Washington Univ / SACPAL, CA
Karissa Postula – C, Oregon Sports Union / CLEVELAND, OR
Julia Riekena – FL/8, Army West Point / MISSOULA, MT
Darina Roe – FH/FB/C, Penn State / STATE COLLEGE, PA
Jojo Skucek – P, Lindenwood Univ / STATE COLLEGE, PA
Mckenna Strong *^ – L, Lindenwood Univ / KENT, WA
Sam Tancredi – L, Lindenwood Univ / NORTH BAY, MD
Nohea Uluave – C/FB, Lindenwood Univ / KAHUKU, HI
Nicole Wantlin – L/FL/8, Army West Point / WELLINGTON, FL
Elizabeth Wilson – FL/8, NOVA Rugby / WEST END, VA
Glory Woolley – L, Oklahoma State / BROKEN ARROW, OK
*Part of the senior Women’s National Team 15s Performance Squad
^ Capped 15s Eagle
HAWKEYE 7S PERFORMANCE SQUAD
Player – Current Team / High School
Susan Adegoke * – Life Univ / PLAY RUGBY, NY
Ina Bailey ** – Kona Bulls HS (HI)
Cassidy Bargell * – Harvard Univ / SUMMIT, CO
Kate Buzby ** – Scottsdale HS (AZ)
Kayla Canett ^ – Penn State / FALLBROOK, CA (7s resident May ’19)
Lily Durbin *^ – Dartmouth / FALLBROOK, CA
Emily Henrich *^ – Dartmouth / ORCHARD PARK, NY (senior 15s squad)
Taylor Marasco * – Grand Canyon Univ / KAHUKU, HI
Ariana Ramsey * – Dartmouth / WHITE HORSE, PA
Taina Scott ** – Kahuku HS (HI)
Alex Sedrick – Life Univ / HERRIMAN, UT
Samantha Sullivan – Army West Point / crossover
Salote Tausinga ** – SacPAL Amazons (CA)
Lauren Thunen ^ – UC Santa Barbara / crossover
* U20 eligible
** HS All-American eligible
^ Capped Eagle