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Land Park Girls Shock Champs

HS Girls

Land Park Girls Shock Champs

The Land Park girls team out of Northern California not only pulled off an old-fashioned upset, they did so in startling fashion.

Taking on the defending national club champions, Land Park defeated SacPD PAL Amazons, but it wasn’t just the victory, it was the margin - 75-7. That was the shocker. For coach Naki Hopoi, this was just one more step in creating a new girls program from the ground up. 

Land Park won the Northern California Plate last year, in only their first year as a high school team. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t been playing rugby.

“A lot of these girls have been playing since under-10s and under-12s,” said Hopoi. “They’ve played with and against boys, and they have developed the basic skills. The Amazons are a program we’ve been chasing and so to beat them was a great feeling.”

Land Park might have given up a little size to the Amazons, but they are a brave bunch. As Hopoi said, learning to play at a young age in co-ed rugby helps with the intimidation factor that some players can feel. Thus Land Park fronted up nicely in the middle of the field, won enough ball, and was able to move it wide quickly and with accuracy. 

Land Park has a core of players who have been playing for six or seven years, and with more coming to the program over time, they look to grow. Qiera Nixon led the team with four tries on the day, and Destiny Nash was superb as well. 

But it’s more than that.

“We’ve got a complete team and it was a complete team effort,” said Hopoi. “We don’t rely on just one or two players. Everyone is playing well, and to be successful that’s what we need.”

Along with Nixon and her four tries, scorers included Nash, Lexia Reynolds, Olivia Popp, Zyana Thomas, Daisy Chanthavong, Jackie Miller, Leireena Anjolok, Lei Taukave-Langman, Briyonna Shelton, and Lilliana Farias.