Joselin Roque battles back from injury to fight for 15th consecutive state rugby title
Despite being one of the most unique sports offered at Summit High School, rugby has proven to be a popular option for girls to play during the fall sports season.
Many girls come into the sport with no prior knowledge of the popular East Coast sport, but with the guidance and coaching of head coach Karl Barth, a new arsenal of quick, skilled rugby players are forged to defend the team’s long history of state titles.
The Summit girls rugby team will try to earn its 15th consecutive state title on Saturday, Nov. 5, when it competes at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Among this team’s roster of skilled players is senior Joselin Roque — who like her senior classmate Paola Arredondo — has helped play a vital role on the team over the last four years.
Holding down the center position, Roque has played a significant role for the Tigers. She has served one of Summit’s most powerful runners, constantly using her speed to break free of defenders as she sprints down the field.
Throughout the early season, Roque was often the leading scorer, not only cashing in on runs to the try line but also scoring points on successful conversions.
However, three to four hours before Summit’s first match during Utah’s Pink 7’s rugby tournament, which was played from Oct. 14-16, disaster struck the senior.
“We were practicing, playing a little touch, and I was messing around with Paola,” Roque said. “I was going towards her full speed, and I kind of just stopped. My whole ankle just popped — sprained. I knew as soon as I heard it pop that I wasn’t going to play.”
Roque remembers breaking down in tears not because of the pain but because of the fact that she was not going to be able to play in her final Pink 7’s rugby tournament — a tournament Summit attends annually.
The severe ankle sprain has sidelined her from games ever since.
Despite the setback during her senior season, Roque has been working hard to recover. Over the past few weeks, Roque has been meticulously doing rehabilitation drills with hopes of taking the field for the final time of her high school career at the state tournament.
Even though recovering from an injury can be tedious and mind numbing, Roque says she has been motivated by her loving teammates who want her back on the field as soon as possible.
“My team — especially Paola — wants me to play,” Roque said. “My team has supported me by telling me that I am going to be okay — to keep going and take care of myself so I can be back 100%. That’s what has been keeping me going, which has been really nice. I love the team so much for the support they give me.”
Roque is expected to be able to play on Saturday, but she knows she will not be 100%. The hope is to be in a good enough condition to not risk any further injuries ahead of the 2022-23 basketball season and spring soccer season.
Like in rugby, Roque plays a major role on the girls basketball and soccer teams.
Roque’s junior year in particular was perhaps one of the biggest in her high school athletics career. Not only did the Summit rugby team win a 14th consecutive state title, but Roque also helped lead the basketball team to its best season in 15 years, setting a firm foundation for the girls soccer team.
“I put in a lot of work in my junior year, and it paid off,” Roque said. “I spent a lot of hours in the gym, took practice seriously and made sure my teammates were doing the same. I think that played a huge role in having a good season in every sport.”
Roque hopes to continue this success her senior year by first winning a state rugby title and then making a state playoff run in both basketball and soccer.
Like many star athletes at Summit High School, Roque’s success translates to the classroom. Roque is in the process of applying for colleges and hopes to play rugby at the next level. Last weekend, Roque even toured Lindenwood University and loved the school and team.
Although hard to pick just one standout moment, Roque said one of her favorite memories over the last four years comes from when the girls rugby team won a state title last season. With a large number of juniors and seniors on the team, the experience was special for Roque.
“Last year, some of the juniors were super close with the seniors and helping them win the state game was very special,” Roque said. “I was crying a lot because I was super happy to help out in winning that.”
That memory may be topped for Roque if Summit is successful in winning another state title on Saturday.
Roque will return to the pitch on Saturday, Nov. 5, when the No. 1-seeded Summit girls rugby team begins play in the state rugby tournament.
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