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Summit girls rugby win State Championship

Shauna Farnell

Players on the Summit Girls Rugby Team had an easy time making their way through the hallways between classes at Summit High School Friday, leading themselves with their Colorado Cup trophy.

The Summit team won the state rugby title Thursday night after defeating Fort Collins 7-5 in the state championship, and has all the evidence to back up why it’s the No. 1 team in Colorado.

“It was amazing,” Summit head coach Karl Barth said of Thursday’s game. “It didn’t start very well – (Fort Collins) made their intentions clear early. But we played really well, and by the end, I’d say it was one of the best games we’ve ever played.”

From the beginning, the No. 2 Fort Collins team, which beat Summit the previous two years in the state finals, didn’t offer any illusions of weakness when it charged down the field for its first try within a minute of play.

“They had a burst of momentum from the beginning,” Barth said. “They got down to our end really fast and we didn’t have a chance to settle it.”

The first blow was the last the Summit team would stand for, however. The girls put up a wall that didn’t bend for the duration of the game.

“When they scored really quickly, I was like, “Uh-oh,'” said senior wing Kelly Moberly, who was one of six Summit girls to make second team All-State following the game.

“I’m kind of glad they scored early. It gave them a false sense of security and it gave us a wake-up call.”

Wide-awake but without a score, Summit held its ground nearly the entire game until Fort Collins almost clenched it with a penalty kick during the final 10 minutes. After the missed kick, Summit junior Tracy Church moved the ball down just short of the goal line, where she was able to stick it in over her head for the score.

Despite intensive kicking training that several members of the Summit team had received at practice throughout the past few weeks, Catherine Boyd, who received no special instruction, put the ball over the bar just enough for the two-point conversion during the remaining two minutes of play.

“She did this old-school drop kick, not off the tee,” Barth said. “It hit the upright, then the cross bar, then just fell over the bar. So we won.”

The team ran its trophy through the Littleton team, which had shown up at the finals to support Summit. Then, game officials announced the first and second All-State teams and other awards.

Sally Gentling, Boyd, Aurora Santos and Church all made first-team All-State. Moberly will be joined on the second team by Katie Learner, Lacey LeBaron, Sarah Vincent, Jara Johnson and Tori Pearson. Gentling also got the Colorado award for best player of the year.

The team leaves next week for Seattle, where it will compete in the national tournament. Last year, Summit took fourth in the country after losing its third-place game in sudden death overtime.

“If we play as a team, like we know we can do really well, I think we have a shot at (the national title),” Moberly said. “We weren’t expecting to be very good this year, but it ended up being one of the best years we’ve ever

had.”

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


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