Summit High girl’s rugby team look ahead to state tournament
Special to the Daily
Remaining Regular Season Games
Oct. 17th, @ Palmer
Oct. 31st, vs Northside @Broomfield HS
Success for the (11-0) Summit girl’s rugby squad is nothing new. Winning every state championship since 2008, the team is a powerhouse within Colorado and the country, ranked sixth in the nation. Their head coach, Karl Barth, believes that passing on a winning tradition through a focus on player-to-player teaching, has been an important reason behind the Tigers consistent domination.
“A lot of the coaching is coming from their veteran teammates, and pointing out the little things. I ain’t pointing it out to 50 of you, I’ll grab you and you, but everyone I grab, there’s been four others grabbed by Meg and Becca, and Jodie … and it’s fun to watch them coach each other,” explained Barth.
Passing on these winning traditions and practices, has come most prominently from veteran leadership. This year’s team is a young one, with only five seniors, and more underclassmen than juniors and seniors on the team. Many of these younger players had never seen varsity time before, so even with the program’s past success, big questions awaited the Tigers, entering the 2015 season.
“At first I was a little concerned because I didn’t know how we’d do, and if the older players would step up,” said junior Jess Kamins. “But the older players have stepped up, and we’ve actually taught the younger players how to play our game the way we play.”
“Some of them who have not played before, have just come out and learned the game so much, and still, everyone’s just helping each other develop,” explained senior captain Meg Rose.
One of these players is sophomore Brigid Corson. Corson is from New Zealand, but is spending a year in Summit, living with some of her parent’s friends. She had only played rugby a few times in her life before coming, but thanks to older players taking her under their wing, Corson has quickly risen through the ranks, and is now a major contributor on the team, with eight tries on the year.
“It’s been really fun, I’ve made, like heaps of friends,” said Corson.
For the Summit rugby vets, providing familial-like mentorship, has been a big part of their success.
“I think they really take pride in passing it on. They understood what they received. They look back and say, ‘Wow, I had … these guys that did the same thing for me, so it’s important to give it on,’” explained Barth.
“There’s definitely a lot of freshman on the team, but it’s crazy to see how much they’ve already improved from the team thing, rather than just the coaches … . It’s like having a big family, and teaching them to be in the position you’re in now,” said Elle Scott-Williams, looking across the practice field. “It’s not only the coach’s job to teach the younger ones. It’s definitely us helping them out … . I remember looking up to the older ones, and always thinking, ‘O.K., if they do that, I can do that.’ So when like when they see us do something, it definitely helps inspire them a little bit.”
An important part of the learning process came last weekend, when the team travelled to Utah, to square off with some of the best teams in the country, at the Pink Sevens Tournament.
After dispatching 18th ranked Heriman in the quarterfinals, their biggest test would come next, in their final four game against United. Falling behind by two tries and losing senior captain Becca Rosko to an injury early on, things looked bleak for the Tigers. After winning most of their games this season by over 70 points, all Summit had proven so far, is that they have been more talented than their competition, while traits like grit, tenacity, and ability to handle adversity, uncertain. Finally, a true test of their talent, would take place.
“Sometimes you get in that mode where you don’t really know how to lose, because you don’t really know how to win when it’s close either,” said Barth with a laugh.
Thankfully, the Tigers passed the exam with flying colors, staging an improbable comeback, en route to a 22-12 win. In the title match, Summit faced an even greater challenge against Orem — the ninth ranked team in the country. The Tigers trailed in this game as well, but once erasing a first-half deficit, never looked back, nabbing a 31-15 win, and the Pink Sevens Cup. Not only was it impressive that Summit won a tournament featuring some of the best teams in the country, but it also proved their character.
“It’s really good for us to have competition because that tests our trust in each other, and tests our ability in a unit, rather than just winning every time,” explained Rosko.
“It was definitely confidence booster, and I just think it showed the true nature of the team. Even though we got behind in a couple games, we pulled it together, and just really showed our support for each other,” explained senior captain Meg Rose.
Rose also sat out for portions of the tournament, because of a hurt knee. Even when losing two of their top senior’s leaders, the younger players didn’t give an inch, proving, that their development has come full circle.
“I think Utah helped make some of our younger girls realize that they have to start stepping up because they’re filling our roles, and where they need to be is on the top,” said Rosko.
Even now, with the season winding down, dedication to the team has continued. Almost every JV player still shows up to practice, even though, their team has no more games this season.
“Trust is a big part of success and building the trust factor has been a pretty big goal and part of Summit rugby culture.”
Proving legitimacy and trust couldn’t have come at a better time for Summit, with only two regular season games remaining, and the State Tournament nearing on the horizon.
“Winning state is always a goal for us, even if we don’t think it out loud, we all think it,” said Barth with a smirk.
With the connection this team has built, this goal will speak louder than any words for the Summit girls on the rugby pitch.
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