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Utah Liona Academy Girls Set for LVI

NAHS 7s
HS Girls

Utah Liona Academy Girls Set for LVI

Delaney Rakuita sidesteps an opponent. Patrick Barnes photo.

The Utah Lions Rugby Academy has been hard at work preparing for what is expected to be an incredibly tough set of elite divisions for the u18 boys and girls. Powered by their partnership with Atavus, the Academy has seen dramatic growth in the last few years and has been able to place not only U18 Elite, but also U18 Developmental division girls and boys plus the addition this year of U16 boys.

The girls are coming off a tremendous 2016, taking 3rd at the 2016 LVI, winning the United World Games, and taking second at the NAI7s in Salt Lake City. While they have graduated out a few players like Spiff Sedrick and Steph Hickman, they have kept the team mostly together and have added some incredibly talented players who have raised the level overall.

This will also be the first year the Lions have had players from outside of Utah participating. Atavus alumni Meg Gold from Idaho Falls and Dani Reus from Pocatello have joined standout players, and former GHSAA Addi Sorensen, Delaney Rakuita, and McKay Piesley plus a host of returning and new players. The girls are getting additional training from Atavus as part of their visits to Utah over the winter and have had a chance to work one on one with Michaela Staniford, Shalom Suniula, and Richie Walker.

State Championship Coaches Orlando Pulou (West Valley Rugby) and Jeremiah Tiatia (Orem Stallions) have been working with the girls since December. Final evaluations are being held to fill slots in rosters for Vegas.

“Last year took some time to get our culture right,” said Coach Orlando Pulou. “I think we took the learnings from last year that piece get solidified by Vegas. When you have returning girls helping the new players learn the framework and learning the process, the sky is the limit on capability."

 

U18 Utah Lions Academy Player Pool

Maelyne Alofipo Salt Lake City, Utah

Jessica Boyle Herriman, Utah

Whitney Cook South Jordan , Utah

Tupou Finefeuiaki South Jordan, Utah

Margaret Gold Idaho Falls, Idaho

Nyree Jensen Washington, Utah

Elizabeth Jeppson St George, Utah

Aniya Matina Provo, Utah

Silia Maumau Herriman, Utah

Ariana Moleni West Valley City, Utah

McKay Peisley Eagle Mountain, Utah

Delaney Rakuita Herriman, Utah

Daniella Reus Pocatello, Idaho

Addilyn Sorensen Payson, Utah

Alexia Tiatia Pleasant Grove, Utah

Ilaisaane Vehekite South Jordan, Utah

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