Hannah Price, a 2011 Summit High School graduate, recently competed against more than 350 athletes to win a spot on the USA Rugby AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans (WJAA) rugby team. This traveling squad will be representing the United States in the July U20 Nations Cup in Nottingham, England.
The WJAA team is composed of rugby players aged 17-20 who compete against U20 teams from other countries. It is the first international experience for female rugby players in the USA Rugby Development Pathway. Price, 20 and in her last year in this program, will be competing in her first international tournament.
The goal of the program is to identify the future Women’s National Team, World Cup and Sevens Olympic players. The players’ experience at the WJAA level will help them succeed with the senior team as they learn how to handle the pressure and pace of international matches. Price has trained with the senior-side USA Eagles team at a camp in Atlanta. Because of her age and experience at this level, she is expected to be a leader on and off the pitch for this touring team.
The pathway for the U20 players to be selected to the traveling squad began this winter. Over 350 athletes applied to the four regional camps in March. One hundred sixty girls attended one of four regional camps. From the camps, the traveling squad of 26 athletes was chosen to represent the United States. Only two girls were taken for Price’s position. At the camp in Atlanta, Price was made the team captain during the final scrimmage.
“The camp was absolutely nuts!” Price said. “There was so much talent from all over the South. The intensity of the final scrimmage made the coaches extremely proud.” Price’s team went on to win the scrimmage with a decent score.
The 2013 U20 Nations Cup will be held at Trent College in Nottingham. The WJAA team will play its first match against Canada on July 11, then takes on South Africa July 14 and England July 17. The final will be held July 21.
“I’m so honored to be able to represent my country overseas in an international tournament,” Price said. “I have been training so hard for years to get this chance to play internationally. Fitness at this high level is extremely important so that, those last few minutes of the game, you can give it your all. This is going to be an opportunity of a lifetime, and I’m so proud to say that I come from one of the best rugby programs in the nation. Huge thanks to the coach that brought me to this amazing sport, Karl Barth, Summit High School women’s rugby coach.”