Falcons Go Coast to Coast for Recruits
Falcons Go Coast to Coast for Recruits
Notre Dame College is expanding operations this fall, recruiting well enough to field two teams in ACRA’s DII women’s college competition. With two major accolades to its credit – ACRA DII championship runner-up and ACRA DII 7s champion – the program was able to attract players far and wide.
Incoming players hail from three main regions - Ohio, California and Hawaii – with additional players coming from Maryland, Virginia, New York City and Tennessee.
Arguably the most recognizable player on the roster is Karmin Macedo, former scrumhalf of four-time reigning high school champion Fallbrook (Calif.). Having joined the Warriors at age 12, Macedo played for several regional all-star teams before graduating in 2013. Before migrating to Ohio, she played wing with the San Diego Surfers and competed in the Women’s Premier League alongside current Women’s Rugby World Cup Eagles Emilie Bydwell, Lauren Daly and captain Shaina Turley.
Last year, Southern California sent Kayla Rudman and Hannah Gauthreaux, a known entity with APEX and Old Blue 7s, and now the region’s lent Marcaya Bailous, Leslie Velez and Shania Young. Bailous has been playing with the Dead Rabbits for four years, three on the SoCal Griffins, and is a former MVP Back from the NorCal vs. SoCal all-star game. Velez and Young hail from Fullerton, Rudman and Gauthreaux’s alma mater, and both play in the pack. Velez has been playing rugby for six years, first with Hacienda Heights, and when the team disbanded, with the boys, before moving to the Lady Lions. Young has two years to her credit, playing prop and lock, and was a 7s MVP in her first year.
But Hawaii’s Hilo Reign is sending the most players with three. Top among them is Danielle Walko-Siua, who is currently in Nanjing, China, for the Youth Olympic Games. The former High School All American and state championship MVP is one of 12 Americans representing the USA at the first-ever rugby 7s competition. Pacific Coast All Star Kailyn Tilini has also attended the HSAA Stars & Stripes assembly, captained two age-grade sides for Hilo Reign, and has a couple of state and tournament MVP nods on her resume. Kawena Mendiola was there for both state championships and also traveled with the team that placed 4th at last year’s LVI.
Locally, Falcons coach Mark Andrade has done well to scout the top in-state talent. From the high schools, Jianna McCullough has been making waves with Lakewood High School since 2011. The outside center is a powerful try-scorer, and after named Ohio State Championship MVP in 2012 and repeat selections to Ohio Elite, both Serevi and HSAA programs took notice. She was in consideration for the U.S. Youth Olympic Games team.
Hudson High School sent its captain, Kathryn Klamencic, a flanker/scrumhalf who also played for the Ohio Elite; and wing/flyhalf Sarah Tomasulo, who has Ohio Elite and 7s experience. Hooker Cierra Parsons from Berea Midpark High School played with Parma, which finished 2nd at the Ohio State Championships this year.
Andrade is expecting big things from Ohio’s Patsy Ford, who like Macedo, isn’t coming directly from high school. The prop played for the Midwest all-stars at the National All Star Championships, and has been playing No.8/center with women’s club Akron. Ford is expected to the fill the void left by graduate Lucinda Darvell, a big, imposing tight five.
Emilia Ferrara and Rebecca Waldrop both competed at the National High School Championships last May. Ferrara spent three years with current Maryland state champion North Bay, which finished 8th in DI, and was chosen as Player of the Match against Fallbrook and Catholic Memorial at nationals. Waldrop, aka “Hollywood,” has spent five years with Virginia state champion West End, which finished third at DII nationals.
Two graduates of the Play Rugby USA Academy are now Falcons: Ashley Diaz, a scrumhalf/hooker/captain for her high school team; and Brenda Doctor, who has three years of 7s experience and one in 15s, playing at the state level in both.
The lone wolf is Tiffenny Ontha, who comes to NDC from Blackman High School in Tennessee. She played four years between fullback, wing and flyhalf, and has played with the Tennessee Tri-Stars twice.
Looking ahead to this season, Andrade is eager to see his new squads in action.
“I scheduled a game with Mary Washington on September 21,” Andrade said of the USA Rugby DII college champion. “I wanted to play the best. So we’ll host Denison at home Saturday and then hop on a bus to play Mary Washington on Sunday. We will also be hosting Penn State on October 11.”
These non-league games will be important, as the Falcons shouldn’t encounter too much resistance en route to the playoffs.