The Lady Stallions got their first taste of 7s last fall, as Utah Youth Rugby hosted its inaugural girls club 7s season. Orem ended up winning the state title and were curious how they’d match up against tougher competition. So they traveled to the Las Vegas Invitational and entered the Girls High School Elite 7s division.
There were plenty of successes and surprises at the Las Vegas Invitational, but one topping the list is the Atlantis U16s in the Girls High School Open division. It was the first time that the all-star program has fielded this age group, and that alone was an achievement. The players, however, had higher standards for themselves.
The Girls High School All Americans garnered a lot of attention at the Las Vegas Invitational – that’s how program firsts typically go. But the USA needed skilled captains to lead these sides, and they found them in McKenzie Hawkins and Tess Feury.
The Girls High School Elite played out its version of the North American rugby rivalry in today’s LVI final. The Girls High School All Americans 1 (GHSAA) faced reigning champ British Columbia in the title bout, and after a tense few minutes, pulled away with the 27-5 win.
Tiffany Person is having one of those years where the unimaginable keeps on happening. One of 24 athletes representing the first Girls High School All American team to compete, the Virginia native has been globe-trotting these past 12 months, and it’s all thanks to rugby.
Even though the squads are billed as High School All Americans, the two girls’ teams at the LVI featured a handful of players who are currently in their second season of college rugby. And they’re coming from very successful programs: Penn State, Davenport, Notre Dame College, Ohio State and Central Washington.
There was solid talent on display at the LVI’s Girls High School Elite division, but all eyes were on the All Americans in their debut performance. It is so rare to view national age grade teams at a well attended U.S. event, and today’s spectators were eager to know what a team of the best high schoolers looks like.
California has sent nine players to the Girls High School All Americans (HSAA), which will make its debut at the Las Vegas Invitational 7s this week. SoCal’s Fallbrook and ICEF sent five athletes total, while NorCal’s Danville and Pleasanton sent four representatives.
Atlantis continues to grow, and later this week, the first-ever Girls U16 team will debut at the Las Vegas Invitational (Feb. 12-14). Twelve players hailing mostly from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York (with Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin getting a representative apiece) will don the aquamarine and compete in the Girls High School 7s division.
The Girls High School All American (GHSAA) program is nearly three years old, but it hasn’t played any real competition. During the previous two summers, Stars & Stripes camps drew the top 50 players from around the country to Colorado, where the attendees experienced a high-performance environment for a week.
Part of the fun of the Las Vegas Invitational is sorting out where all of the talent is playing. Who’s taking the competition seriously and sticking with the elite levels, and who’s going the social route?
There was ample interest in the Girls High School Elite 7s division of the LVI, and the eight-team competition filled up quickly. Unfortunately for teams like the Minnesota Tundra, among others, some all-star teams were kept out of the top tier, but on a positive note, that means the H.S. Open division will be better than ever.