Morgan Freeman at the New York 7s / Photo: Kendall DiMarco
Atlantis is the reigning Las Vegas Invitational Girls’ High School Elite champion, and returns to the USA 7s-adjacent fixture to defend its crown and go after an Open 7s title as well. The select side program is bringing 23 players from 10 states and England, and will also be watching several alumni competing in the Youth Olympic Games qualifier also occuring during the LVI.
The player pool includes representatives from California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The connection with England’s Hartpury is still alive as well. Last year the club sent two players, including current England back Ellie Kildunne (who scored two tries against Wales during Saturday’s Women’s Six Nations test), and will be sending Jessica Cooksey and Emma Sing to Las Vegas in 2018.
The players will be split into Elite and Open teams after practicing together in Las Vegas. Josie Ziluca returns as the Elite head coach, while Kate Flanagan heads up the Open. Talia Carrasquillo will serve as assistant coach for both teams, and Diane Ramage will manage it all. Emil Signes will resume his post as emperor.
Atlantis will also provide some flexibility for the USA’s Youth Olympic Games (YOG) team. The YOG qualifier involves five U18 national teams, which will be competing for berths to the October 2018 tournament in Buenos Aires. According to Atlantis U18 Director Wayne DiMarco, seven players (Kate Buzby, Alex DiMarco, Clara Lemal-Brown, CeCe Pennell, Madeline Rose, Ariana Ramsey, Camile White) with Atlantis roots are in the 14-player USA YOG pool for Vegas, but only 12 will make the final team.
“I have been working with Emilie Bydwell, and we both wanted to make sure we gave all of the girls an opportunity to play in Vegas,” DiMarco explained the coordination occurring between Atlantis and the USA Rugby Women’s High Performance General Manager, who also serves as a Girls’ High School All-American coach. “So one girl not selected [for the USA] will play for Atlantis and one girl will play for Atavus. These seven girls not available [to Atlantis] has opened up opportunities for other girls to step up and fill those leadership roles, so it should be exciting to see who emerges.”
For more information on the LVI, visit www.lvirugby.com.
ATLANTIS @ LVI 7s
Ubaida Ahmed – Fort Hunt, VA
Erica Cathey – Freedom Prep Academy, TN
Jessica Cooksey – Hartpury, England
Bella Devore – Fallbrook, CA
Jamaya Hawkins – Plano, TX
Abby Fearey – San Marcos, CA
Morgan Freeman – Fort Miami, FL
Tiyanna Hooker – South Jersey, NJ
Serena Jones – Freedom Prep Academy, TN
Noelle Lewis – Fairfax Police Youth, VA
Sophia Linder – White Horse, PA
Sofia Mancini – Moon Area, PA
Nina Mason – Doylestown, PA
Madeleine Maurice – North Bay, MD
Merrin McSorley – White Horse, PA
Matalasi Morrissette – West End, VA
Alex Pipkin – North Bay, MD
Alie Ramage – Morris, NJ
Julia Riekena – Missoula, MT
Kaitlyn Schwarting – Virginia Beach, VA
Soneva Scott – Westside, CO
Emma Sing – Hartpury, England
Sydney Smith – North Bay, MD
Elite Head Coach – Josie Ziluca
Open Head Coach – Kate Flanagan
Assistant Coach – Talia Carrasquillo
Manager – Diane Ramage
Emperor – Emil Signes