Summit girls rugby celebrates college signings, Colorado Cup
Rilla Long commits to play at Queens University of Charlotte
The Summit High School girls rugby team on Wednesday, May 26, celebrated the signing of Rilla Long to play at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina, as well as the team’s formal receipt of the Colorado Cup for its state championship win earlier this month.
Long will head to North Carolina this summer to play rugby 15s for the Division 2 Queens side. Tigers senior Bryton Ferrari, who herself signed on to play at Colorado School of Mines next year, said Queens is getting “the rock” of Summit’s team.
“They’ll be able to take advantage of Rilla’s strength and power,” Ferrari said. “Her willingness to draw in defenders is impressive. She gave us a lot this year.”
Long said it wasn’t until recently that she realized she might be able to fulfill the dream of playing rugby in college. After transferring back to Summit High School from a study abroad year in Denmark in 2018-19, Long became an integral part of the Tigers program with her presence at prop.
Long credited Tigers head coach Karl Barth for connecting her with Queens, which was looking to recruit forward players with Long’s skill set.
Long said she expects to contribute for Queens by her sophomore season.
“No matter what, I always keep pushing and try to be a driving force,” Long said. “That’s not only a big part of what a prop does in the scrum, but I just feel, personally, I try to keep the team going, especially in the hard parts toward the end of a game when everybody is struggling.”
Long said she is excited that Queens is a small school that appreciates all of its sports teams. She thinks the athletic focus of the college will help her excel on the rugby pitch and in the classroom.
As for transitioning to the 15s version of the game played in college, Long said the physical aspect of her game will lend itself to the larger, longer 15-on-15 version of the sport.
Long said she will remember how the elder Tigers players welcomed her in her freshman and sophomore years and inspired her to grow her skills.
Barth — who was joined by Long’s father, Ben, and mother, Terra, at Wednesday’s signing — said Long is a player who has put in a lot of hard work in school and in rugby since she came back from Denmark.
“They are getting a really hard-working player who, over the last two years, just started to show her potential,” Barth said.
After posing for a photo with the Colorado Cup, Ferrari said Mines was a good fit for her because it has a strong engineering program to go with the high-level Division 2 sports. And Tigers senior Lily Hess said she’s excited to head to Coastal Carolina in South Carolina to spend some time in a different state, meet new people and pursue studies in marine science.
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