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home : sports : sports May 1, 2016

7/15/2014 1:15:00 PM
Sisters brings girls rugby to Central Oregon
Sisters is fielding a Rugby 7s squad. photo by Lucille Ausman
+ click to enlarge
Sisters is fielding a Rugby 7s squad. photo by Lucille Ausman

By Lucille Ausman

After watching her boyfriend Keegan Bloff play rugby for about a year-and-a-half now, Sisters High School student Samantha Wavrin decided that she wanted a hand in the action. Since the only high school rugby team in Central Oregon was the Bend Blues (a boys team) she decided to make a few phone calls to Rugby Oregon, the statewide rugby association, to find out how to get a girls team started.

Once Wavrin found out that it was possible for her to start a Girls Rugby 7s team, she had a day-and-a-half to find a coach and a team of at least seven girls. Wavrin's boyfriend's stepdad, Brennan Morrow, who played rugby throughout high school and college, was recruited as the blossoming team's coach, and in a little over 24 hours Wavrin had recruited enough Sisters female athletes from the contact list in her phone to get a team started.

And so the first high school female rugby team in Central Oregon was born.

Donning mouth-guards and cleats, the girls have been practicing safe tackling, rucking, scrums and lineouts with Coach Morrow and assistant, Coach Bloff. Since the team plays 7s - meaning there are only seven players from each team on the field at each time (cutting the amount of players that are typically on a rugby field in less than half) the girls have had to get used to much more running and a very fast-paced game. However the girls' speed and agility has also proven to be a unique advantage as they grow in their understanding of the game.

In their games, which take place every Saturday of July in Portland, they have faced tough competition but have shown true grit. The girls on the team, adorned with sweet French braids, show their true colors on the field, enduring brutal tackles and elbows to the face ending in gnarly scrapes, bumps, and bruises. The required mouth-guard proves to be an essential not to be overlooked.

In their first round of matches on July 5, they faced Portlandia Black, made up of seasoned players, four of whom were on last year's state all-star team. On July 12, they earned a 10-10 tie in one of their games against Battle Ground.

The girls are working hard headed to next week, when they will face the Highlanders and Canby. The team looks forward to the Summer State Cup Final on July 26, in Portland, which will determine the top summer team in Oregon.

Though in their infancy, the team has come together to make the best of the season. They show support for each other on and off the field and dedication to the sport, despite being beginners.

"Our whole team has been doing well working together as a team, and we've been improving a lot, too," Wavrin said. "We definitely have a lot of heart, and I think we can win this if we really want to."

The team includes: Betsy Ausman; Chawndra Craig; Shayla Curtis; MJ Murphy; Riley Warburton; Samantha Wavrin; and Marissa Young.

Wavrin hopes that the spirit of women's rugby continues in Sisters, and that they can eventually create a team for the spring season as well as next summer.

To follow the girls' games in the coming weeks, their schedule and results are on the Rugby Oregon website under the team name Bend (although all current players are from Sisters).

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