Summit Girls Rugby Club rarin’ to go |

Summit Girls Rugby Club rarin’ to go

SILVERTHORNE – It’s not easy to play rugby on a basketball court, but the Summit Girls Rugby Club hasn’t had much of a choice the past few weeks.

“The whole thing about rugby is tackling,” said vice captain Wendy da Costa Miranda, who graduated from Summit High School early this semester. “It’s really hard to play rugby inside a gym. We almost went down a couple of times on our knees, and it hurts.”

Because of the recent statewide snowfall and the varying spring breaks of opponent teams, the Summit girls have only played two games so far this season. About two weeks ago, the team lost 15-10 to East High School, a team they expected to beat, and lost 15-0 to the Air Force Academy’s junior varsity team, a game in which coaches say Summit played valiantly. The team has also done most of its practicing indoors at the Silverthorne Recreation Center and has only had a chance to work on tackling one hour each week in the wrestling room at SHS.

The team, which won the state title last year and took fourth in nationals, is hoping its schedule gets into full swing after spring break, mostly so its new players, which are plentiful this season, get the full scope of what rugby is all about.

“We’ve had quite a few players come in, new freshmen and one eighth-grader,” said Summit Girls Rugby head coach Suzanna Barth. “We have potential. It looks promising if they learn the game and get going with it. It will be a big job and a lot of focus. It will be important to get those games under our belts – to just play.”

One characteristic new team members are not lacking is enthusiasm. Christina Lopez-Morales, a Summit High senior whose family moved to the United States from Mexico two years ago, decided to take up rugby her final year of high school.

“At first, I was adapting myself to the country and the people,” she said. “I just wanted to try something new. This year, I just said, “I don’t lose anything by trying.’ It’s really fun. I think it really builds your confidence up. Trying to learn and (become) friends with everybody is my main goal.”

Courtney Clark, a freshman at Summit High, has gone through many sports in search of a niche, which she says she’s finally found in rugby. A little encouragement from her mother, who plays for Denver’s Pink Ladies rugby team, was also helpful. The mother- daughter practice duo, unfortunately, meant a black eye for mom earlier this season as daughter was learning some position fundamentals.

“She’s a forward and I’m a back and she’s bigger than me,” Courtney Clark said. “We did some practice stuff, and I stiff handed her. She was pretty mad because I hadn’t even played yet. I’m not the greatest, but I’m learning. I’m doing a lot better than I was when I first started. It’s a lot of fun, though. We’ve tried to get other girls to play and they’re like, “Oh, it’s too rough.’ But the whole thing that’s so rough is the best part of it. I’ve tried almost every other sport and instruments and stuff, and this is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

So far, returning players are pleased with the newcomers.

“A lot of these freshman have a lot of talent,” said sophomore Janae Manion, who plays centre. “They will go pretty far. For me, my goals are to make all my tackles and to play as well as I can. I’m playing a new position this year, so I want to pick that up and just play my best.”

Miranda, who brings new wisdom to the team this year thanks to the playing time she’s had in the last six months with national teams, is optimistic about the season and Summit’s new players, provided the team’s game schedule picks up.

“Games would be great,” Miranda said. “One of the best ways to learn and improve is to play against other teams. We did our goals at the beginning of the season. Most players wanted to go to nationals. I don’t know how we’ll do. Hopefully we’ll make it to state.”

The Summit Girls Rugby Club’s next scheduled game is April 19 in Fort Collins against Highlands Ranch.

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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