Summit girls rugby wins 10th straight state title
WESTMINSTER – After the Summit Black girls high school rugby team ran through their celebratory victory tunnel, accepted their first place medals and crooned out the finals bars of Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” rocking arm-in-arm back and forth, the 19 high schoolers gathered back on the field at the goal line.
Seated in front of a stadium scoreboard that remained lit up with their state championship final score of 50-7, the team snapped a few photos. They then excitedly beckoned their head coach Karl Barth to join them. The Summit White junior team followed. And finally, any and all friends, family members and fans that wanted to join in for a picture.
Then and only then did all who gathered hold up five fingers on each hand — to signify the 10 consecutive Rugby Colorado Girls High School 7s Cup championships the program has brought back to the mountains.
And this victory, over elite-yet-friendly rival Westside Swarm of Denver, was one of the most special yet.
Heading into this season, only two members of last year’s state championship Summit Black, including senior captain and All-American Cassidy Bargell, returned to power this year’s edition.
But in Saturday’s all-day, four-game state championship tournament action, Summit Black outscored their four opponents by a combined score of 174-7, including a 34-0 semifinal win over physical Fort Collins.
To top it all off, a collection of Summit High students and friends — including some basketball players fresh out of opening season tryouts — carpooled down to the Front Range in time for the final game to cheer on their classmates.
“I played a lot of good girls rugby a lot of different places,” Bargell said as she held up the state championship trophy full of Reese’s mini peanut butter cups, “and the support that we receive here at state finals two hours away from our house is so much bigger than any other support I’ve ever seen for girls rugby.”
Holding up such fun-loving signs as “I Love you, Eazy-E,” “Kick Booty, Eva,” and “No. 6 is my girlfriend,” the crowd cheered for Summit Black after night fell and after the Westside Swarm jumped out to a sudden 7-0 lead in the final when Summit Black allowed a player to zip through a center crease after an early restart.
Summit Black rallied back immediately, however, capping a dominant final five minutes of the first half with an interception that led to a score down the left wing by Kalina Rose Macias to increase the lead to 19-7.
“We’ve always had really dominant teams and we came into the season smaller, not as sure,” Bargell said. “We didn’t have as much raw talent. And the way we’ve grown throughout the season and transformed has been incredible. When a lot of people look at us and they see us, in particular, our senior class is such a great team because we all worked so hard to play on varsity where we are today.”
Then Bargell effectively put the game away just 24 seconds into the second half when she scored a try, despite a hair-pull at the goal line, after sprinting down the right wing. Subsequent scores from Eva Josephine Copley to the corner and Bargell up the middle further put the game and state title away for Summit.
And though rugby state championships are a familiar accomplishment for the program, just how special each is wasn’t lost on the 2017-18 seniors.
“We were on (Summit) White and we lost to Swarm every time,” Macias said. “So being up here and growing feels so good to finally do it.”
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