Summit’s Armstrong named to U-19 national team
FARMER’S KORNER – Kyle Armstrong drives a beastly red Chevy Silverado 2500 pickup truck. She lifts weights in her free time. At 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds, she’s usually the biggest girl in the room.Nevertheless, if you think Armstrong was born to play rugby, you’re wrong. She was born to ride horses. Her first ride came when she was 6 months old. A year and a half later, at age 2, she was showing equines in competitions. Now 17, Armstrong has a horse of her own. She travels to events across America, showcasing her talents on the paint horse circuit.Until this year, equestrian matters consumed her life. That changed.
“I’m supposed to go to the world show in Fort Worth (Texas),” Armstrong confessed Tuesday, “but I’m gonna play rugby this summer instead.”This is what happens when you get named to the national team, as Armstrong was last week. She will be one of the youngest members on the under-19 women’s squad when the Americans take on Canada in Boulder in June. But if she continues performing as she has lately, Armstrong should be one of the team’s leaders.The Summit High School junior attended a national team scouting camp the first week of April in Colorado Springs, where she caught the eye of U-19 head coach Bryn Chivers. Chivers saw her size and athleticism, and recommended to Summit coach Karl Barth that Armstrong might be better suited to play the No. 8 position, instead of her usual position on the back line.”I thought she could play (No. 8) at a higher level,” Chivers said.Since then, under the watch of Barth – the Summit High science teacher who founded Summit’s U-19 girls club – Armstrong has flourished. She directs Summit’s traffic on the field and, according to Barth, is the team’s unquestioned leader, even though she is not its captain.
Barth has now sent four players to the national team in the last four years. Aside from Armstrong’s obvious traits, the coach pointed out, her work ethic played a key role in her selection.”She’s definitely not just along for the ride, living off her talent,” Barth said.Armstrong made the decision last fall, after playing for the Colorado Select side (a regional all-star team), to commit herself to rugby like never before. It came at the expense of her only love.”This year I put rugby first, because I really wanted to make this team,” Armstrong said. “I have sacrificed a lot because I haven’t gotten to ride my horse as much. He hasn’t gotten much exercise.”The same cannot be said for Armstrong. She became a fixture in the weight room over the winter, working out alongside football players and other beefy boys, sometimes four afternoons per week.
She put on 20 pounds of muscle and has manhandled opponents on the pitch this spring. Her technique and positioning at No. 8 have improved, as well, thanks to tutoring from Silverthorne resident and senior national team veteran Suzanna Barth (Karl’s wife).The product is far from finished, but Armstrong has time on her side. Simply making the national team is enough, for now.”This was my goal,” she said.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at email@example.com.
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