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Sorensen Finalist - Danielle Siua

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Sorensen Finalist - Danielle Siua

It's a simple question and a simple, and easy answer for Danielle Walko Siua ...

What do you love most about rugby? The Notre Dame College Sorensen Award Finalist was quick to answer: "Besides hitting people? The sense of family."

And that, right there, is Siua in a nutshell. The 5-foot-zero scrumhalf/center is a powerhouse of rugby enthusiasm and a brilliant sidestepper, who loves every element of this sport, from the most physical to its most emotional. She can handle it all.

Siua grew up wishing she could play rugby. Her dad was a player, and she found herself frustrated to be watching boys at Waikea high school on Hawaii's Big Island play, when she couldn't.

"I really wanted to play, and then my sophomore year I heard they were starting a girls tackle league," Siua told Goff Rugby Report. "I was so excited. My dad was iffy about it but my mom told me to go for it. So I started playing, and my uncle coached and my dad helped as an assistant coach. I loved it."

She wasn't, and isn't, big, but she showed quickly that she could handle herself.

"Being raised with all boys back home helped," she said. "I found out quickly that I might be small, but I'm strong. My parent never said anything about me not being able to do things. They might make a little fun about me being small, but they always said, nothing can stop you if you work hard."

The hard work in the classroom and on the rugby field took Siua to Notre Dame College, a school that she loved the moment she visited it, saying it looked like how she imagined a school should look. 

"I didn't feel like I wanted to make it in a big college," she said. "I kind of felt like Notre Dame College was the one called to me the most. I liked the small classes and the chance for one-on-one opportunities with the teachers."

But that didn't mean it was all easy. Siua readily acknowledges that she needed her freshman year to adjust. Having the freedom that college affords you can be difficult to manage for many students, and Siua was no exception. 

"I learned to deal with that freedom, and started running with people who will push me academically," she said. "Playing rugby has helped me focus my time, and also with us now practicing in the morning, it has helped me. We get up at 6:20 and we're done around 8am and then you start your day."

Now a junior, Siua is studying Sports Management with a minor in Coaching. She wants to be a coach some day.

"I have seen how coaching can impact people," she said. "For me, if it wasn't for my coaches, I wouldn't have gone to college."

A brilliant rugby player, Siua has naturally played a lot of scrumhalf (considering her size). She has also played hooker, and wing and center. Center could well be her spot, because she is so difficult to catch. Her sidestep and acceleration make her an attacking threat. Meanwhile, her desire in the contact area makes her an effective tackling.

"I like it, I like tackling people, and because I am small sometimes I don't even have to bend down to get low and make the tackle!" she joked. "I like playing a lot of positions. I think the best rugby player is one who can play any position when needed to. I love scrumhalf but I love hooker and center, too."

But back to that first question. In the end, the attraction to rugby is all of those things - running ... tackling ... and being part of a team. Siua sees the Hawaiian word "ohana" - family - in playing rugby at Notre Dame College.

"I love the family aspect of the game," she said. "For me, being thousands of home, coming to a college where I didn't know anybody, they have been my family away from home, and I love the fact I have found a family in rugby."