Carly MacKinnon and Lauren Barber are heading the Washington Loggers 7s program, carrying on a tradition of Seattle Saracens involved in the state all-star coaching network. Their guidance will bring more stability to girls’ Loggers program, and the 2019 team will debut at the Vancouver Sevens Invitational (VSI) March 7-8.
MacKinnon reviewed the fissures within Rugby Washington, that the boys’ select program split into the Wolverines and Loggers, and then they competed for players. As a result, the State Rugby Organization disassociated itself from select sides, but since the girls had no reason to rebrand or separate from Rugby Washington (Rugby WA), they remained as the Loggers.
Last year, Rugby WA didn’t assemble a full 7s season for the girls, so the two coaches lined up the North American International 7s in Salt Lake City. They wanted the players to not only build and train for a guaranteed competition but also feature in a tournament that drew collegiate scouts. Today they work with the Washington Loggers Executive Director Dave Miller, and come 15s season, will likely look toward senior club teammates and/or boys’ coaches for more aid.
That relationship between the Loggers and Saracens is an established one, as players like Parisa Asgharzadeh, Jozy Gessner, Sharon Blaney, Katie Dowty and Michaela Staniford through Atavus have all coached the team at some point. Many of the current Saracens are also Washington Athletic Club 7s members during the summer, and they’ll assemble on Feb. 24 for a touch scrimmage and skills session against the Loggers as prep for the VSI.
“This will not only challenge the girls but will present the chance to see the system run by a group who already understands it. And on the flip side, allows current players a chance to give back without committing to a whole coaching season,” MacKinnon noted. “This was Lauren’s idea and we are super excited to bring it to life to help show the pathway the sport can provide and make our community that much tighter.”
Eighteen players showed up for the VSI tryouts, a number that pleased MacKinnon considering the timing. Six selected to the VSI squad are veterans of the 2018 NAI 7s team, so the remaining six will be new players.
“A handful of them had never been to a Loggers session. One girl’s mom said [her daughter] came out because, ‘She wants to go to the Olympics,’ which warmed our heart,” MacKinnon noted.
“Our goal is to develop girls rugby in the state. Yes, it’s a select side but we can also provide resources and chances for girls to get better regardless of selection,” the coach continued. “We asked three girls to continue to train with the 12 [selected for VSI] to, first, prepare them for how 7s and competition teams work, and continue their training in case of emergency or injury; and, second, to continue to work with these athletes so they can develop for their own seasons and for future Loggers events.”
The Loggers have locked in their 7s fixtures and are considering summer 15s options. MacKinnon is weary about Greater Northwest Challenge – a Regional Cup Tournament that was hosted in Idaho last year – considering information on dates and location haven’t been circulated yet. But the coach wasn’t thrilled with the quality of the 2018 event and is looking elsewhere.
“UBC is offering a camp in June alongside some competition opportunities with the BC Rugby girls side that might be more beneficial – AND they are already organized. So we have some options for 15s things in June,” MacKinnon explained.
As MacKinnon and Barber ready the squad for Vancouver and plan toward the future, they implore potential donors to consider sponsoring an athlete who needs financial assistant, or the team as a whole. For more information, contact MacKinnon at Carly.firstname.lastname@example.org.
RUGBY WA LOGGERS 7s POOL
Cordi Atkinson – Shelton
Mulan Chen – Liberty Rugby
Lily Content – Liberty
*Josephine Fesili – Kent Crusaders
Taylor Heimbigner – Liberty Rugby
*Lillian Johnson – Liberty Rugby
*Elise Norris – Kent Crusaders
Christina Osier – Liberty
Gracie Sarginson – Liberty Rugby *Sadie Schier – Kent Crusaders
Mulu Smith – Rainier Rugby
Bella Suaava – Rainier Rugby
*Teuila Teaupa – Rainier Rugby
Clairee Waylett – Shelton Rugby
*Alexa Valenciano – Rainier Rugby