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Rugby Weekend Wrap-up: USA through HS Happenings

  • 03 Jun 2024
CO Gray Wolves rugby Tahna Wilfley

The Rugby Breakdown will be spending the next couple of weeks catching up with the various high school champions that have been named this spring, all while following the summer 7s season and USA movements. Watch for posts like these weekend wrap-ups that track activity and serve as a to-do list for follow-up interviews. This weekend, TRB will head to the WPL + Pacific Coast U23 doubleheader at Boxer Stadium (San Francisco). I love these events, the ones that connect players and pathways and longevity in the game. [lead photo: Jackie Finlan / The Rugby Breakdown]

INT’L: USA’s 5th

The USA wrapped up its HSBC SVNS season with a 5th-place finish at the championship event in Madrid, Spain. Read more. Bit of a heartbreaker, as the Eagles’ pool had three teams go 2-1 but point differential shuffled the USA into the Plate bracket. Head coach Emilie Bydwell noted consistency as a work-on during the final runway to the July Olympics in Paris. [TRB fave and photog Alex Ho will be in France in late July so be sure to follow him at @hoiho_photo for in-person updates.]

USA 7s rugby

Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby


The Women’s Premier League (WPL) returned to play after a league-wide bye. There was an interesting cadence to the Colorado Gray Wolves (3-1) and Life West (2-3) match. The visiting Gray Wolves would establish a lead, push it out, and appear to have control. And then the hosting Gladiatrix would rally back, big time, and score back to back. So while the Colorado side always maintained the lead — 19-17 at the break, 38-36 the final — the outcome always felt uncertain. Fun that way, as a spectator.

Notable performances included high schooler Tahna Wilfley (lead photo) playing wing for the Gray Wolves; Hannah Long at No. 8 for the support and set-up play; captain Rachel Ehrecke back from USA duty; and big off-the-bench impact from Evie Oglesby. The Gray Wolves’ Kelsie O’Brien and Kate Herren are currently in the Netherlands representing the U.S. Armed Forces at the CSIM Military 7s Challenge. Read more.

Life West saw the Hingano sisters team up at flyhalf and fullback, bringing back Danville Oaks days, and they both featured heavily on the scoreboard. Nana Fa’avesi also stepped in the Life West kit, playing inside center before moving over to scrumhalf when Miri Marawa came off the pitch with a lower-leg injury. That’s a big loss, as no one weaves through the open field quite like Marawa. Mona Tupou and Emerson Allen were influential in the tight five. More photos.

Life West rugby

Nana Fa’avesi with Life West / Photo: Jackie Finlan/TRB

RELATED: Current Standings

Beantown (1-3) picked up its first win of the season, beating the Twin Cities Amazons (0-4) 62-0. Center Jenni Laferriere finished four tries, while lock Shelby Vance (2), No. 8 Yeja Dunn, flyhalf Alex Pipkin and wing Erin Wholey also scored. Amanda Schweitzer (4) and Laferriere (3) added the extras. Berkeley (4-0) was nearby, traveling to Chicago North Shore (1-4), and extended its undefeated record with a 60-0 win in rainy conditions. First-season All Blue Sophie Lamphier (3) and Laura Thacker (2) scored multiple times from the wing, while Jade McGrath, Olivia Bernadel-Huey, Naomi Carrillo and Mikaela Solorzano (and one “Name Withheld” player) added five points apiece. OBH added five conversions.

This Saturday sees Berkeley host the Amazons at Boxer Stadium in San Francisco. Remember: There’s a curtain-raiser with the NorCal vs. Pacific Northwest U23s playing each other in a Pacific Coast U23 selection match. Buy tickets. Undefeated New York will head to Infinity Park’s turf pitch for the Colorado Gray Wolves, and Chicago North Shore will travel to Beantown.


Senior all-star 15s is very much alive in the Midwest, and that’s what the Thunderbird Cup showcased last weekend in Lemont, Ill. On the women’s side, eight teams filled Cup and Plate brackets, and every team played two full 15s games. The Chicago Area RFU (CARFU) supplied two sides, as Allegheny did not send a women’s team. Martha Daines and Sue Whitwell coached the Minnesota all-stars to two wins in the Cup bracket — 34-15 vs. Wisconsin, 34-14 vs. Ohio. Stay tuned for an interview with Minnesota captain Whitney Swenson. CARFU 2 won the Plate bracket, beating Indiana 70-12 and Michigan 32-24. Games were live-streamed on the Midwest YouTube Channel.

Ohio 25-24 CARFU 1
Michigan 38-5 Iowa
Minnesota 34-15 Wisconsin
CARFU 2 70-12 Indiana

CARFU 1 73-0 Wisconsin
CARFU 2 32-24 Michigan
Iowa 73-0 Indiana
Minnesota 34-14 Ohio


The senior club 7s season is just getting underway, as teams recoup from spring 15s, but last weekend saw some noteworthy competitions.

Delco 7s kicked off the Eastern Pennsylvania qualifier season, and Happy Valley took top honors, beating DIII Atlantic Super Regional champ North Bay by a try in the final. • Washington Athletic Club (WAC) won both men’s and women’s titles at the 32nd annual Super Saturday 7s in Olympia, Wash., hosted by Budd Bay. The women beat ORSU in the final. • Orlando won Surfside 7s, the first Florida 7s series tournament of the summer. Check out these sweet photos. • And Atlanta 2.0 Selects took home the Peach Pit 7s trophy, besting Lady Toe 19-14 in the final.


As one might imagine, there isn’t a ton of college rugby happening now that school has let out, but high-achieving collegians will be funneling into all-star rugby as well as senior club 7s. With that said, did you see the breaking news about Lindenwood University!? The Lions are joining DI NIRA as a full-fledged NCAA varsity program this fall. Can’t wait for schedules to start dropping. Also curious what that means for DI Elite.



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Five teams capped their high school seasons with trophies. Stay tuned for interviews and features. Starting in the east and moving west:

• Orchard Park High School beat Corning 39-24 for the New York 15s championship. Annie Henrich was named MVP.

• St. Joseph Academy retained its Ohio single-school 15s title, holding off a second-half surge from Highland, 32-21. Brunswick took the high school club title with a 39-19 victory against Perrysburg.

• The Valkyries also kept the Rugby Illinois trophy with the Chicago Rugby Club, beating Morton 27-7. Stay tuned for interview with head coach Michael Olson.

• And the Brookfield Bruisers won the Wisconsin 7s series on the picturesque grounds of the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex.

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