All-American squads named for Can-Am Series in Ottawa

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The rosters for USA Rugby’s age-grade National Teams have been selected for the August 1-7 Can-Am Series to be held in Ottawa, Ontario.

Farrah Douglas’ Girls High School All-Americans powered by Atavus (under-18) and Wil Snape’s AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans (under-20) are set to face their Canadian counterparts in two matches apiece on the campus of University of Ottawa. For the GHSAAs, this Series will serve as their first full internationals, having only played provincial sides in XVs beyond an extensive sevens schedule. The WJAAs, in their most recent competition, swept Canada’s under-20s in Bellingham, Wash., in 2015.

“The squad is looking forward to the challenge of playing what will be a strong and equally-talented Canadian side,” Douglas said. “One of our main objectives with the Can-Am Series is to continue to expose our age-grade players to high-level competition as we look a long-term player development within the current pathway.

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“We are seeing a number of former GHSAA players in the under-20 player pool, with our Kayla Canett – capped internationally in sevens and just named to the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 squad – being our most recent success story.”

The Can-Am Series will finish just before the start of the senior World Cup in Ireland, where Canett and 27 teammates will face reigning World Champion England, Italy, and Spain in pool play. University of Ottawa’s Gee-Gees Field is the setting for the four age-grade matches the first week of August, beginning with the GHSAAs’ first international Tuesday, Aug. 1. The under-18s finish their slate Saturday, Aug. 5, between the two under-20 match days Aug. 3 and 7.

More than 70 female athletes attended separate selection camps at Grande Sports Academy in Casa Grande, Ariz., at the end of June in hopes of earning spots on one of the National Teams. More than a handful of those athletes had already worn the U.S. jersey in international play, and helped to set the tone for the training environment in harsh temperatures. Taking the field in the morning and evening to avoid the heat as much as possible, the athletes benefitted from extended unit skill and vide analysis sessions during daylight hours.

“The players showed a great ability to adapt, which bodes really well for the Can-Ams,” Snape said. “The video analysis and indoor unit skills really helped to accelerate learning around game understanding and team play. Players really seized the opportunity to show their talents and created the hardest selection decisions we’ve had to make as a group of coaches.

“The combined Series gives us a great opportunity to build consistency and fluidity in the pathway. Farrah, Pete Steinberg, and I have been in constant communication in discussing players moving up and down the pathway to maximize their development. For the players it means we can continue to push them and help them grow as leaders within the age-grades. The strength of the pathway is proven by the fact we can move players through the system.”

Seventeen of the 25 players named to the WJAAs – including Emily Henrich, who will also be eligible for the GHSAAs should unavailability necessitate it – have represented their country as GHSAAs. Twelve of those 17 currently play collegiately at institutions like College XVs Championship Semifinalists Brigham Young University and Life University, while Central Washington University has five players in the squad.

The GHSAAs hail from 14 states and include returning athletes Tiana and Tiara A’au (Oregon), Cassidy Bargell (Colorado), Jordan Cowan (New Jersey), Alexandra DiMarco (Pennsylvania), Madison Jumper (Washington), Lolohea Makaafi, Leilani Mendoza (California), Julia Riekena (Montana), Salote Tausinga (California), Brianna Vasquez (California), and Elizabeth Wilson (Virginia).

The GHSAAs were busy in 2016, playing in two international sevens competitions – winning Vancouver Rugby Festival and claiming silver at Rugby Europe Women’s U18 Sevens Championship – that bookended an under-16 and under-18 East Tour in Quebec and an under-18 tour in British Columbia. In more than 400 minutes of rugby, the GHSAAs lost just one sevens match.

“The GHSAA staff has been working hard preparing our athletes to play at the most competitive level possible, so there is a lot of excitement among the program in regards to our upcoming series with Canada,” Douglas said. “The team selected includes some key players who made significant contributions to the recent success of the GHSAA program last year, and this experience is sure to put them in a good place as they look to make the leap to the national stage at the under-20 and senior levels.”

Broadcast information for the four matches at University of Ottawa will be announced by Rugby Canada closer to the Series, while admission will be free to the public.

AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans | Can-Am Series

Name Club/School
Suiluana A’au Central Washington University
Kaino Ah Quin Brigham Young University
Milla Anderson Dartmouth College
Lilly Durbin Fallbrook High School
Bayleigh Gable U.S. Military Academy at West Point
Emily Henrich Orchard Park HS
Hannah Lewandowski Central Washington University
Taylor Makowski Life University
Yana Manoa Central Washington University
Joanna Moreira Central Washington University
Michel Navarro Central Washington University
Olivia Ortiz Davenport University
Maryjane Pasioles Sacramento PD PAL
Emily Prentice Harvard University
Katherine Ramage Dartmouth College
Michelle Reyes Northern Virginia Rugby
Anne Rolf St Joseph Academy
Becca Rosko Dartmouth College
Alexandra Stasser Notre Dame College
Adi Finau Tamaivena Seattle Saracens
Kristina Tomelloso Saint Mary’s College
Caitlin Weigel Harvard University
Emma Workman Brigham Young University
Erin Wright Catholic Memorial HS
Ilona Zaishliuk Notre Dame College

AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans | Coaching Staff

Wil Snape – Head Coach

Kitt Ruiz – Assistant Coach

Katie Dowty – Assistant Coach

Annemarie Farrell – Manager

Katherine Henry – Physiotherapist

Kaylee Howard – Manager

Diane Watanabe – Physiotherapist

Terrance Cronin – MD

Craig Wilson – Videoanalyst

Rich Humm – Coach Advisor

AIG Women’s Junior Allv. Canada U20 – Thursday, Aug. 3 @ 11 a.m. ET

v. Canada U20 – Monday, Aug. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Girls High School All-Americans powered by Atavus | Can-Am Series

Name Club/School
Tiara A’au Grant High School
Tiana A’au Grant High School
Leireena Anjolok Land Park HS
Cassidy Bargell Summit High School
Madylyn Becker KC United High School
Malery Billingy New York Rugby Club
Gracie Cartwright Pleasanton Cavaliers
Jordan Cowan Morris Rugby
Kateleen Dela Paz Kent Crusaders
Alexandra DiMarco White Horse RC
Morgan Freeman Ft. Lauderdale High School
Haley Harris Valkyrie HS
Fane Haungatau Sacramento PD PAL
Emily Henrich Orchard Park HS
Madison Jumper Kent Crusaders
Allison Koenig Catholic Memorial HS
Lolohea Makaafi Kent Crusaders
Sharilyf Mayer Bishop O’Dowd HS
Leilani Mendoza South Bay HS
Julia Riekena Missoula Valley RC
Matja Saarenheimo Grandville RC
Marion Sellier Pleasanton Cavaliers
Samantha Tancredi North Bay RC
Salote Tausinga Sacramento PD PAL
Charity Tenney United RC
Brianna Vasquez South Bay HS
Elizabeth Wilson Springfield HS

Girls High School AllFarrah Douglas – Head Coach

Emilie Bydwell – Assistant Coach

Katherine Henry – Physiotherapist

Annemarie Farrell – Manager

Diane Watanabe – Physiotherapist

Terrance Cronin – MD

Craig Wilson – Videoanalyst

Kaylee Howard – Manager

Rick Humm – Coach Advisor

Girls High School Allv. Canada U18 – Tuesday, Aug. 1 @ 6 p.m. ET

v. Canada U18 – Saturday, Aug. 5 @ 6 p.m. ET