The NOVA Nighthawks Rugby Team traveled to attend an all-day rugby event at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia. Twenty of NOVA’s top student-athletes tested themselves against one of the newest varsity scholarship rugby programs in the nation.
“From the initial conversation about bringing rugby to NOVA, the primary goal’s been to provide opportunities to student participants both on and off the field. If it isn’t exceptional or distinctive in some way, we aren’t interested.” says Mike McMillon, Coordinator and Coach of the Nighthawks Rugby team.
At Alderson Broaddus University, the full day rugby event provided players a closer look at a professionalized, collegiate-level program. The day included a campus tour complete with a visit to the athletic facilities, athlete meet and greet, lunch with coaches and faculty, an intensive three-hour rugby clinic, and finally a “test match” — NOVA Nighthawks against Alderson Broaddus Battlers.
“The clinic is absolutely a once in a lifetime opportunity for some of our athletes,” says McMillon. The featured coaching is some of the best in the U.S. and includes famed pro, Jenny Lui, Assistant Coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team and former US Eagle team member.
“I’m so excited; it’s an amazing opportunity,” says Analicia Roberts, a Nighthawks Rugby scrumhalf and a freshman at NOVA. “This is my first year playing and I never thought I’d have this opportunity.”
The week leading up to the clinic, Audrey Yamamoto, the Club President, offered a perspective: “I’m slightly anxious but also excited. I can’t wait to meet some other players, especially since it’s a varsity program, and visit the school. More importantly I think it’ll be interesting to play our first 7s game together against another team because it is a different dynamic than we are used to.” 7s refers to the number of people on each of the two teams. Rugby teams can also sometimes play 15s.
The Nighthawks players present at the daylong event included: Giselle Lovo-Robles, Allison Fowle, Analicia Roberts, Melanie Castillo-Ponce, Meghana Lokireddy, Yusrah Jaouni-Salah, Brione Perry, Sachi Zavaleta, Hoora Khan, Katty Juan de Dios, Kat Gutierrez, Alina Yamamoto, Lucy Sund, Karina Martinez and Grace Carter.
For information on Nighthawks Rugby players, match schedules, results, and more pictures, please visit: https://www.nvcc.edu/student-life/rugby/index.html