Summit girls rugby team notches 3rd-place finish at elite national tournament in Utah |

Summit girls rugby team notches 3rd-place finish at elite national tournament in Utah

Highlights from the Summit versus East High School rugby game on Sept. 28. Recently Summit placed third overall at the Pink 7's rugby tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

The Summit High School girls rugby team came into the elite Pink 7’s rugby tournament in Salt Lake City with big goals and expectations. 

After placing third at last year’s tournament, the team set its eyes on winning it all. With players like senior Paola Arredondo, senior Joselin Roque, junior Ashley Misch and junior Ella Snyder setting the tone for the team, the Tigers took to the pitch eager to prove their worth against some of the most talented rugby teams in the nation.

The Summit girls rugby team began the tournament facing the Majestic 7’s and the United 7’s teams —  who are nationally ranked second and third, respectively. 

The task of trying to beat the two elite rugby teams was daunting enough on its own, but an injury to Roque — the team’s leading scorer — made it even more challenging. According to head coach Karl Barth, Roque was injured during a run before the matches.

“It was super unfortunate. … We had to adjust to what we had, and we were honestly able to keep up and win on the first day of the tournament,” Arredondo said. “There was no doubt in my mind that we couldn’t win.”

Without Roque, Rose Rode and Viola Koning took over the kicking duties for Summit. 

In the first game, the Tigers faced the United 7’s team. Summit did not start the match strong and ultimately fell to an early deficit in the first half.

The Tigers continued to fight, however. They were able to rally from a 21-point deficit to challenge United late in the first game, but the effort came up just short. United held on to win by a score of 28-21, handing Summit its first loss of the tournament.

“I am happy that we started the day off with an intense game,” Arredondo said. “It allowed us to really click into that quick and competitive mindset right away.”

Using the lessons the team learned in the first match, Summit played better in its second game against the Majestics. The Tigers and Majestics battled back and forth for the majority of the match until Snyder was able to score a game-winning try, topping the second best team in the nation by a score of 20-17.

Arredondo and Synder led the team in tries on Day 1 of the tournament, while Braelyn Wentworth and Delilah Staberg made big plays to help challenge the two nationally ranked teams. Additionally, Misch continued to be the physical leader of the team by rucking and creating opportunities for the Tigers.  

On Day 2, the Summit won its final game in pool play against the Summit Gold team to advance to the semi-final match with a record of 2-1. In the semi-final match, the Tigers faced the Majestics in a highly competitive rematch. 

Barth said the team played well in the rematch, but it was not enough to pull out the win against the Majestics.

“I went in there knowing I was going to win, and it didn’t end up that way,” Arredondo said. “I think this is one of the few times where our best wasn’t good enough. But if we played our best, we can walk off the field with our heads held high.”

Despite falling a bit short of the team’s goals, both Barth and the Summit girls rugby team view the tournament as both a learning experience and a success. As Barth pointed out, Summit faced nationally ranked teams that are much bigger than the girls that make up the Tigers’ roster.

The 2022 Pink 7’s rugby tournament will give the Tigers experience, motivation and chemistry heading into the final three games of the regular season. Summit will face Regis Jesuit High School in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 19, before playing East High School on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Summit will then look to conclude the season with a 15th straight state title on Nov. 5 at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. 

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