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Winona Embracing 7s

  • 23 Mar 2016

Winona is relatively new to the 7s scene, but an impressive debut last year, which saw three tournament entries and three tournament wins, encouraged an encore. Last weekend, the Black Katts traveled to Wisconsin Dells, Wis., for the Woodside 7s and outscored opponents 256-0 en route to the championship.


Driving the performance was a core of familiar names. Women’s Junior All American Lanoira Duhart brought her signature power, but instead of playing prop or center, she applied her craft at scrumhalf.


“She understands the game better than most and has the strength to make it happen,” reported Winona assistant coach Roger Riley, who enjoyed a short-lived retirement.


More power came in the form of Megan Wolff and Lachen Esters. Both are 15s flankers who beat everyone to the breakdown. Wolff is improving rapidly with ball in hand, running great angled lines, while Ester is a monster in the tackle.


Two seniors have returned for their final semester of rugby after taking a break following the fall championship: Nikki Linberg, a small, fast wing who has matured into an excellent decision-maker; and Rachel Hunter-Schlicting, a 5’10” prop with speed, muscle and much-improved open-field moves.


The team really embraced the style of 7s and is eager test itself at a higher level. Next weekend is the Great Waters Invitational 7s in Cottage Grove, Wis., and the victor moves onto the ACRA 7s championship at Army West Point, N.Y. Until then, Winona will alternate between 7s and 15s, playing in the Foolfest 7s, as well as Minnesota and Iowa State in 15s.


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