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U24 T-Birds Named for Can-Ams

  • 30 Jul 2019

Photos: Ken Langley

This weekend, the Midwest Thunderbirds return to the Can-Am Rugby Tournament in Saranac Lake, N.Y., and double their presence as both the U24s and senior all-stars enter the competition.

RELATED: Midwest Baby Birds Tour Ireland

The Midwest U-24s last competed in summer 2017 when they toured Ireland in conjunction with the Women’s Rugby World Cup. This year’s U24 team was selected from two player camps – one in Chicago, the other in Milwaukee – plus matches between Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa’s U-24 teams this spring. The team is led by Susan Whitwell, who stepped in as head coach late this spring, and supported by coaches Desiree Markovich and Xanthi Gerasimo.

Photo: Ken Langley

To keep travel costs low the team will be assembling in Pittsburgh and van-pooling to the Adirondacks this Thursday, and returning on Sunday.

RELATED: Jason Edsall on revival of Midwest senior all-stars

“Its exciting to see this team come together again,” said Gerasimo, the Midwest U24 Forwards Coach. “I was honored to travel with the team to Ireland, and I’m looking forward to seeing the handful of veterans from that tour returning and being joined by an incredibly talented group of players from all over the Midwest.”

Photo: Ken Langley

Six states are represented on the U24 Thunderbirds: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Seven of the 19 players are competing on DII, DI or Women’s Premier League senior club teams, while the remainder are current student-athletes at DI or DII colleges.

Gerasimo admitted that reactivating the Midwest U24 program after a year’s hiatus has been an effort, but the opportunity to put the Thunderbirds back on the pitch has made the work worth it.

Congratulations to the following athletes on their selection:


Megan Bird – Davenport University 

Scout Cheeks – Pittsburgh Forge

Mackenzie Dirlam – Pittsburgh Forge

Brooke Doerscher – University of Minnesota  

Hannah Fultz – Iowa State University

Maggie Hackett – University of Wisconsin – Madison

Mallory Hammitt – Iowa State University

Ben Hershik – Chicago Lions 

Emily Hranchook – Detroit 

AJ (Alyssa) Inacay – Chicago North Shore

Maggie Knight – University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

Emily Krahn – Winona State University

Erin Nieman – University of Minnesota  

Jordyn Peirce – Milwaukee Scylla

Lydia Rose – University of Northern Iowa

Ciara Staneraon-Edwards – University of Northern Iowa

Tara Viken – University of Minnesota  

Autumn White – Minnesota State University – Mankato

Chloe Wickstrom – Pittsburgh Forge


Sue Whitwell – Metropolis Valkyries

Desiree Markovich – Pittsburgh Forge

Xane Gerasimo – Univ. Wisconsin – Stout

MidwestThunderbirds #CanAms

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