Nate Serevi, one of several collegians looking for Eagle selection.
The National All Star Competition (NASC) concluded earlier this week, and the Women’s National Team (WNT) staff is currently narrowing down that 53-player group into its Super Series roster. The NASC itself served as a trial run for what the international tournament might feel like in terms of overall schedule and recovery.
Like any selection camp, there are dual forces at play. The individual is fighting for a spot on a roster, but is also invested in helping her teammates, who ranged from college sophomore to WPL veteran, understand and execute the USA’s game.
“[That was] probably the highest level of competition I’ve ever competed in during a NASC camp,” Central Washington center Nate Serevi reflected on the player pool. “You could feel it in the games. The intensity and work rate that athletes put into the games was awesome.”
“[WNT coach] Pete [Steinberg] explained multiple times that this particular group was the highest level of players he’s seen since he began coaching,” Bloomsburg University center Nicole Synder confirmed.
“Although we were all out there competing for a spot on the team, there was always encouragement, and helping each other get on the same page, but most importantly, having fun,” added Serevi.
Serevi has been on the scene for years, working through the All American system and taking a prominent role at DI Elite Central Washington. This time last year, Steinberg singled out the rangy center’s performance during the very first NASC, and now she’s competing for an Eagle spot.
“You can never rest on playing well, and I still have a lot to learn as a player,” Serevi reflected on the two NASC matches at outside center. “Playing alongside Sylvia Braaten and Kimber Rozier, I knew I had to keep up with them. Both very humble, great leaders, hardworking – and you could see it in the way they played. Just so much passion for the game.”
The majority of senior Eagle pool players at NASC are well known entities, but there is still room for the up-and-comer. Snyder is proof of that. The power center started playing a little over a year ago, after she enrolled in Bloomsburg University’s accelerated nursing program. She turned heads during the 2015 DII fall championship and was invited to the winter NASC. The country then got a look at what Steinberg and staff saw in the 25-year-old when she led Bloomsburg to a runner-up finish at the DII college 7s championship.
Like Life’s Nicole Strasko and Penn State’s Elizabeth Cairns, Snyder had a difficult turn-around. The trio competed at USA Rugby’s college 7s championship, and less than a week later represented their teams at the USA Sevens CRC. The latter event meant the trio missed the first half of camp, but they jumped on planes to Colorado for a two-day NASC experience.
“I’m the type of person who always likes to be doing something, so going from 7s right to the NASC camp wasn’t too bad,” Snyder explained. “It was tough going from 7s to 15s right away, considering I have only played one season of 15s previously. I definitely was running on adrenaline though. Coming to a camp like this full of athletes who have been playing at this level for years was intimidating.”
Snyder found inspiration in every player with whom she interacted, but she was particularly struck by leading performances from Hope Rogers, Stacey Bridges and Rozier.
“I was picked to participate for a reason, and that’s something I had to constantly remind myself of,” she added. “Official selections will be released soon but I feel really good about my chances. Everyone said I was playing well throughout the week and that was a boost of confidence for sure.”
Stay tuned for the Super Series roster release.