WRCA 11 Players to watch in 2010

The fall season kicked off this weekend. Here are a handful of some of the top collegiate women players who are poised to have big impacts not just on their teams but also on the collegiate game.
Sadie Anderson
  • Name: Sadie Anderson ('the Boss Lady')
  • Position: Flyhalf
  • University: Penn State
  • Concentration/Major: Psychology
  • Hometown: Ft. Collins, CO
  • Age: 20
  • Ht/Wt: 5'5"/140
  • Select Side Experience: U-20s National Team
  • Extracurricular interests: Writing, hanging out with friends, and involvement in church activities.

Coming to Penn State in 2008 as a highly touted recruit Sadie has exceeded expectation – she is arguable the best collegiate player on the best college team. A fixture on the USA U20s for many years and eventually Captain, Sadie is an intense competitor and a true student of the game. Her slashing runs and keen vision earned her the co-MVP in 2009 Collegiate National Championship. She took her team back to the final in 2010 and played superb. Penn State will be stacked with talent at every position this year and with Sadie leading the attack they look like a lock to win their third consecutive national title.

Star Bollinger
  • Name: Star Bollinger
  • Position: Center
  • University: Brigham Young University
  • Concentration/Major: Exercise Science
  • Hometown: Wellington, FL
  • Age: 20
  • Ht/Wt: 5'8"/140
  • Extracurricular interests: Member of the physical therapy club at BYU, working to becoming a personal trainer, and enjoys any outdoor activity such as hiking and biking.

Due to religious prohibitions of playing on the Sabbath BYU has missed out on key match ups and unlike their male counterparts the women remain a mystery to most of the collegiate rugby community. But they are a talented bunch led by the tough running style of Star Bollinger. Star brings power to the line matched with precise running lines and nifty footwork. Who knows if USA Rugby will ever accommodate the Cougars but there is no doubt they are a top 8 team.

Erica Fallon Cavanaugh
  • Name: Erica Fallon Cavanaugh
  • Position: Primary- Wing, Secondary- Center
  • University: University of Virginia
  • Concentration/Major: History, Art History, Religious Studies Minor
  • Hometown: Ashland, VA
  • Age: 21
  • Ht/Wt: 5'4"/160
  • Select Side Experience: U-20s National Team ‘09. (US, 7's Union), MARFU U23's 2010, and went to the US A side camp in February

Erica brings a nice combination of speed, balance and power to the wing spot. She is a physically imposing player, prone to run over defenders as much as run around them. When she gets loose with space to work watch out - she will commit two or more defenders allowing room for her teammates to work, if they can catch her. An attacking defender Erica can effectively shut down the outside. Look for her to lead her teammates back to the Sweet 16 this year.

Jozephine Gessner
  • Name: Jozephine Gessner (Jozy)
  • Position: Flanker and Scrumhalf
  • University: Colorado State University
  • Concentration/Major: International Studies
  • Hometown: Dillon, CO
  • Age: 19
  • Ht/Wt: 5'2"/135
  • Select Side Experience: Select Side Experience: U-20s National Team, (US, 7's Union), West U-19
  • Extracurricular interests: Skiing, Biking, Camping

A relentless competitor Jozy has one speed and its go. Coming off a successful summer campaign with the U20 team Jozy brings a great combination of experience (multiple U20 caps) and athleticism to her CSU team. Coaches laud her composure and vision, whether playing the nine or six, Jozy has a tremendous feel for the game. Teams must focus on containing her, a tall order for 80 minutes. CSU looks good this year –the Rams just may have the players they need to make a run for the western title.

Nicole James
  • Name: Nicole James (Nick)
  • Position: Prop
  • University: Texas A&M University
  • Concentration/Major: Math major with teacher certification, Coaching minor
  • Hometown: Dublin, TX
  • Age: 21
  • Ht/Wt: 5'8"/220
  • Select Side Experience: (US, 7's Union): TRU U23, West U23, USA 'A', USA All-American
  • Extracurricular interests: Working at/for Christian youth conferences for teens and preteens

A big, powerful player Nick has been the anchor for an A&M team that has been in flux. She brings high-level experience and sound technical skills to the front row and tenacity to the loose. Her experience and commitment to winning will be critical to Texas A&M. After a stellar 2008 that saw them lose an epic battle with Navy for a final four spot the Aggies have struggled. They are continuing to rebuild and Nick should anchor an improved scrum but it will take more consistent play from the entire team to get beyond the round of 16.

Katie Johnson
  • Name: Katie Johnson (KJ)
  • Position: #8
  • University: UW Milwaukee
  • Concentration/Major: Kinesiology
  • Hometown: Hopkins, MN
  • Age: 18
  • Ht/Wt: 5'10"/145
  • Select Side Experience:U-20s National Team, (US, 7's Union), Midwest Women’s 7s
  • Extracurricular interests: camping, water skiing, snowboarding, traveling, fitness, and diving

Katie has already been heralded as the most exciting freshman in the country and with good reason; fast, explosive and possessing a great work rate she knows how to play big time rugby. Coming from an impressive rugby family, both her mom and dad have played and her brother played for the USA U20's, Katie brings five years of experience at the USA U20 team with her to Milwaukee. She will help Milwaukee rise to power in the Midwest.

Anne Lee
  • Name: Anne Lee
  • Position: Wing
  • University: University: United States Military Academy
  • Concentration/Major: Psychology
  • Hometown: Salinas, CA
  • Ht/Wt: 5'8"/130
  • Extracurricular interests: I do not have much time to spare at school, but I love to surf when I am home and backpack. I used to lead expeditions when I was in high school and still had a life.

A highly accomplished and recruited soccer player Annie transitioned to rugby her first year at West Point. Her superb athleticism was evident in her first game, as she hit 17 of 17 conversions. Her speed and lateral movement are impressive and fit well with an explosive Army line. She is a young player but makes the most of every moment on the pitch. Her best attribute may well be her attitude. She leads a talented Army side that should find itself back in the final four this year.

Tyra McGrady
  • Name: Tyra McGrady
  • Position: Wing and Fullback
  • University: Indiana University
  • Concentration/Major: Exercise Science
  • Hometown: Columbus, IN
  • Age: 21
  • Ht/Wt: 5'2"/135
  • Select Side Experience: Select Side Experience: U-20s National Team, USA 7's, (US, 7's Union), Midwest All-stars. All Americans 2009 and 2010
  • Extracurricular interests: I eat, sleep, and breathe rugby. Not much room for anything else. I enjoy puzzles, cooking and going to movies.

Ask any coach in the Midwest to name their favorite player and they are likely to say 'Tyra McGrady'. It is hard to find another wing that inspires so much praise - and it is well earned. Tyra goes into every match looking for work and when she finds it, she has the speed and power to close. Tyra matches her intensity for the game with some sweet skills; she has superb footwork and explodes nicely into space. However, Indiana will need to put together a more complete team to move out of the Midwest regionals.

Izraelle McKinnon
  • Name: Izraelle McKinnon (Izzy)
  • Position: Flanker
  • University: Brown University
  • Concentration/Major: Neuroscience concentrator
  • Hometown: Brockton, MA
  • Age: 21
  • Ht/Wt: 5'6”/151

Izzy had a breakout spring season for Brown in 2009-10 culminating in an outstanding three-try performance against Stanford in the semi-finals of the National Championship. She will captain a talented, battle-tested team (3 consecutive final four appearances). Brown will rely on Izzy’s composure, innate sense for the ball and her raw power. She is very effective in the open and has an impressive work rate . Izzy's real forte is her defense, as a relentless and skilled tracker, Izzy lays out major hits for a big time team. Look for her to lead her team back to the final four.

Amelia Villines
  • Name: Amelia Villines
  • Position: Outside Center
  • University: Stanford University
  • Concentration/Major: Architectural Design
  • Hometown: Green Forest, AR
  • Age: 20
  • Ht/Wt: 5'6" ...do I have to give my weight?
  • Select Side Experience: U-20s National Team
  • Extracurricular interests: When I have free time, I love to bake, read and listen to music.

Amelia brings tremendous athleticism and a legacy of winning to her Stanford team. The 2009 Arkansas state champion in pole vault (she currently holds the Arkansas State High School pole vault record) Amelia can carve up a defense with her speed and balance. In addition to her many rugby practices, gym and speed sessions, Amelia has been voted to the position of Club President for the 2011 season.

Alycia Washington
  • Name: Alycia Washington
  • Position: #8
  • University: UCONN
  • Concentration/Major: double major in psychology and sport in society
  • Hometown: Hamden, CT
  • Age: 19
  • Ht/Wt: 5'11.5/185
  • Select Side Experience: U-20s National Team

A big, fast, athletic forward Alycia can dominate a match from the kick-off. She is very effective running off the back of the scrum and works hard to get in the line where her powerful running style can torment a defense. She routinely forces teams to commit two or three defenders. Playing in a very competitive Division 1 New England league Alycia has developed a good sense of what it takes to be a top-level player, look for her to lead UCONN to their first national appearance.