Summit High girls rugby showcases depth as Green edges White in annual intrasquad scrimmage
BRECKENRIDGE — For a renowned program going for its 12th consecutive state title this season, it’s not easy to exceed expectations. But the Summit High School girls rugby program did just that at Tiger Stadium on Thursday evening.
At the program’s annual preseason intrasquad Green vs. White scrimmage, Summit showcased depth and a high level of rugby through its varsity and lower level squads. In the end, Green — wearing black uniforms — defeated White, 40-37, as dozens of girls, from varsity All-Americans to freshman first-years, got to play.
“I’m just super impressed with how much rugby was played at the end without a single kid on the field who has ever played rugby,” Tigers head coach Karl Barth said. “And it wasn’t just sort of a sloppy mess — not perfect, but still a lot of really good stuff. Some of them are brand new players who showed what they learned today. It was kind of cool to see it all come together.”
Of the numerous first-year players who suited up Thursday, sophomore Olyvia Snyder might have been the most impressive. When the rugby sevens action got underway, Snyder found herself out there starting for the White squad alongside the program’s more experienced veterans. It was a nervous moment for Snyder, who already in her high school career has excelled at an elite level in Alpine and Nordic skiing.
“It was my first time and a lot of people didn’t expect me to play rugby, but I was excited,” said Snyder, who played mostly wing and some scrumhalf. “My first time out there with a bunch of veteran players, I was really nervous. But they were really supportive.”
Snyder helped the White team keep somewhat close to the Green team early on as Green jumped up to an early lead despite Snyder’s two try scores.
Barth said once every few years a new player of Snyder’s talent level joins the program and contributes at the top level this early on.
“Maybe they do (contribute),” Barth said about other talented first-year players, “but not in that first period, when you are playing with all of those experienced players. I thought that was really cool, ’cause she looked right at home. Looked real strong. Olyvia, we’ve kind of predicted she would be right there, and that’s good.”
Tigers senior leader PK Vincze also scored a try for White, along with a pair from junior Angel Bishop and one from Daisy Castillo. Deanna Davidson also was a successful on a conversion for White.
Green was led early on by the strong defensive play of junior Lily Hess and senior Nicole Kimball. Hess and Kimball, who both scored tries themselves, provided stout defense against Vincze leading the way for the White squad early. Junior Bryton Ferrari also provided tenacious play for Green in the physical, competitive early going of the scrimmage. Ferrari, sophomore Elizabeth Darst, freshman Joselin Roque Lopez and junior Danna Rodriguez scored tries for Green. Kimball was successful on four conversions, and sophomore Isabella Armai converted one herself.
“Lily is a ferocious defender, tracking people down.” Barth said. “She’s the one who caught PK down here on the sideline. I think that was probably the pretty big difference for the first teams, Hess and Kimball were pretty solid defensively, shutting down the White team.”
Aug. 29: Green, 40, vs. White, 37
Sept. 7: First at Summit 7’s, Tiger Stadium
Sept. 14: First at Terror 7’s, Colorado Springs
Sept. 21: First at Valkyrie 7’s, Glenwood Springs
Sept. 25: Win at Glenwood Springs
Sept. 28: Second at Lumberjackie 7’s
Oct. 8: Win vs. Glenwood Springs (Homecoming), Summit High School
Oct. 11-12: Second at Pink 7’s, Regional Athletic Complex, Salt Lake City
Oct. 19: First at Falcon Bluffs
Oct. 26: Colorado State 7’s Tournament, Boulder High School, 9 a.m. start
Nov. 2: Glendale 15’s, Glendale, TBD
Nov. 9: Palmer 15’s, Palmer, TBD
Nov. 16: Glendale 15’s, Glendale, TBD
Tigers senior veteran Logan Simson, in keeping with the program’s tradition of having veteran players referee the Green-White, officiated Thursday’s game. The injured veteran, who will return to action sometime in September, also took some time to coach some of the young players late in the game in specific scenarios.
“It was amazing watching them,” junior Brielle Quigley said about the newcomers. “The way that they caught onto the game so fast. Because for some of them, this is their first real, live tackle game that they’ve ever played. Watching them all catch onto the rules was cool to see.”
That development meant a lot to Barth, as did the strong play of the newcomers. Like past Green-White scrimmages, a sizeable crowd turned out at Tiger Stadium, big enough to rival Summit High football attendance at some contests.
“The younger players far surpassed where we thought they’d be playing at, which is impressive,” Barth said. “And that’s a testament to the older players, because they’ve been buckling down this week trying to spend some practice time getting them ready.”
The Tigers will open their season next Saturday with the annual Summit 7s tournament. The meet, which will run all day at Summit High School, will feature the state’s top teams and some elite teams from neighboring states.
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