BYU Defeats Colorado State

Saturday Oct 25, 2014 : 11am – Cougar Rugby News

Paige takes one for the team - Lineout!

Paige takes one for the team – Lineout!

Fort Collins, CO – BYU Women’s Cougars defeated Colorado State 53-10 on Saturday. The team moved the ball around, as Hillary Hironaka, Justina Grubb, Cajin Christenson, Lindsay Sheridan, Meighan Stevens, Nicole McCullough, Laura Gubler and Chanel Arts all scored tries. Jessie Beck and Paige Torgeson accounted for 5 conversions. Paige also delivered a perfect strike for penalty kick from the right hand corner of the 10m line.

Overall, the Cougars played well. The pack withstood early pressure from CSU pack and ran away with it towards the end. The Coaches were able to work in some depth with an important component of player development for the Cougars.

BYU still has one more league game against New Mexico on Nov 8, 2014 at Albuquerque, NM.

BYU win over Air Force Women

Saturday Oct 18, 2014 – 01:00pm – Cougar Rugby News

BYU Team 2014 pose after Air Force game in Provo.

BYU Team 2014 pose after Air Force game in Provo.

Provo, UT – BYU women’s rugby defeated Air Force Academy on Saturday, 34-5, through a team effort led by Dana Mortensen, Justina Grubb and Nicole McCollough. BYU started the game fast, on attack and on the first few waves, the Cougars
managed to take cross the line after a line break – 2 minutes into the game. Conversion went wide, so it was 5-0 BYU for about 10 minutes. Air Force came back strongly with their own offensive patterns. “The BYU backs manage to contain AF for the most part, but we felt like we missed a lot of tackles.” said Coach Waqa.

Ten minutes into the game momentum took BYU deep into AF half. Cougar forwards rumpled on, managed to jam one over the line in for 10-0 score. BYU regathered again, and scored two more quick ones, through Cajin Chritianson (2) and Dana Mortensen (10). That took BYU up 20-0 going into the halftime break.

Midway into the half, BYU scored from a long range attack that began from the half way line. Cougars inished that off – conversion good. 27-0.

Then AF made their move, with some good ball movement. The forwards drove it in to make that 27 – 5. BYU finished the day with another try and converted to make that 34 – 5.

“AF is a good team – certainly a different team than the one we played last year. Their work in the breakdown was exceptional – created a lot of problems for us; that we weren’t able to string phases together.” Coach Waqa noted. “We felt we had the upper hand in the set pieces.”

We have young team and we learn and progress. Justina Grubb (6) and Dana Mortensen (10) were Players of the Match for the cougars. They contributed alot on both offense and defense. “We need more improvements on the defensive side. We believe we can put points on board, but need to be more proactive on defense.” said Coach Waqa

No. 3 BYU overcomes No. 5 Quinnipiac Women

Saturday, October 11, 2014 : 09:00am  –  Cougar Rugby News

Nicole McCollough feeds the scrum.

Captain Nicole McCollough (9) gets ready to feed the scrum.

PROVO, Utah – The Quinnipiac University women’s rugby team was defeated by the Brigham Young University Cougars on Saturday morning, 36-19. In a tough match up between two nationally ranked top five teams, the Bobcats could not stop the Cougar attack in the second half despite tries from Natalie Kosko (Sebastian, Fla.), Christie Albers (Castle Rock, Co.), and Elisa Cuellar (Palm Bay, Fla.).

The contest between the Bobcats and Cougars marked the first time in women’s collegiate rugby history that a top 10 team from the east coast matched up against a top 10 west coast team outside the national tournament or playoffs. Quinnipiac (2-2) came to Utah with a No. 5 national ranking against a BYU team (2-0) ranked 3rd in the country.

Play began with little ball movement and excellent defense by both sides’ back lines. After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Cougars were first to put points on the board through Jordan Gray (12), but were unable to convert on the kick. The half continued to be a defensive stalemate after the first try and Quinnipiac entered the break facing a 5-0 deficit.

The second half was a much different story as both offenses began to adjust and increase the pace of play. Once again BYU was first to score, through Cajin Christianson (2), with Cougar forward pack driving the ball in after a line out at the five. Quickly down 10-0 in the first half, senior Elena Orlando (Winters, Calif.) found two-time All-American Natalie Kosko for the first Bobcat points and her team leading ninth try of the year. Orlando recorded her seventh assist, with Kosko at the scoring end for each one.

The Cougars marched down the field, and took one in, through Dana Mortensen, to bring the score to 17-5. BYU again added another score, when Meighan Stevens broken through Quinnpiac line. Paige Torgerson slotted the conversion from the outside. Quinnipiac quickly responded as Albers cleaned up a dropped BYU ball for a 70 yard run and her second try of the season. Aine McKeever was able to convert on the kick and cut the deficit to 12.

BYU put two more tries on the board through Justina Grubb (4) – Jordan Gray with the assists. Quinnipiac’s Cuellar found a hole for a long 60 yard run and the final Bobcat try. Orlando added her second assist of the game and McKeever converted the kick.

The Bobcats lost their second straight game after falling to Norwich, the ACRA Division I National Tournament 15s Champions, last weekend at home. The Cougars are 3-0 after wins against UVU, Colorado & Quinnipiac. Up next, BYU Women’s Cougars will take on Air Force Academy at Fort Utah Park, Provo. Kickoff is set for Saturday, Oct. 18th at 11 AM.

BYU downs Colorado

Saturday, September 27, 2014 – 11:00am – Cougar Rugby News

Meighan Stevens (5) prepares for lineout.

Meighan Stevens (5) prepares for lineout.

Provo, UT – BYU Women’s Cougars dominated Colorado on Saturday putting up 106 points to Colorado’s 5. It was one sided affair and the Cougars looked to be the more experienced team. Colorado is in it’s rebuilding year, and this is certainly one of the games to learn from.

Led by All American No.8 Jordan Gray playing at center, the Cougars put up 50+ unanswered points in the first half alone. Dana Mortensen (10) was also at her usual best operating and guiding the Cougar offense at No. 10.

Final Score: BYU 106 Colorado 5

Next up – BYU vs Quinnpiac – Sat October 11, 2014 – 9am

 

 

Stanford gets past BYU in Elite Eight

Jordan and Dana on attack for Cougars vs Stanford 2014

Jordan Gray on offense for BYU vs Stanford 2014. Dana Greenwood in support.

Stanford is off to the Division I Final Four after a hard-fought 26-17 win over BYU in an Elite Eight match at Steuber Rugby Stadium on Saturday. Stanford won’t have to travel far as it is the host site for the championships May 8-10.

“BYU was athletic, physical and a worthy adversary,” Stanford coach Matt Sherman said. “They were committed with their season on the line.”

Tighthead prop Maxine Fonua’s third try of the game 71 minutes in, plus a 2-point conversion by Aly Gleason, had to provide some bit of relief that the feisty Cougars were at arm’s length.

“I wasn’t really paying attention how many tries I scored,” said Fonua, a Hawaiian native. “Our forwards really brought it. We gave a good platform for our backs.”

Stanford scored quickly to go up 5-0. Good ball movement to the weak side resulted in a try by center Madeline Wilson, who put the ball down far left of post in the second minute. Gleason’s conversion effort was short to the left.

“Madeline had a really good game,” Sherman said. “She ran hard and tackled hard.”

What transpired was around 20 minutes of teams fighting for field position as penalties on both sides mounted. An offside call on BYU gave the Cardinal a scrum on the Cougars’ 5-meter line. Freshman scrumhalf Esther Melton got the ball out to her right. A second pass ended up in Fonua’s hands and she powered over for a try in the 22nd minute. Gleason’s conversion was good for 12-0 Cardinal.

Lock Allie Ballesteros had a 20-yard break for Stanford but no points came out of it. Stanford was dealt a blow when Melton was called for not releasing the ball after being tackled. The referee felt compelled to assess a yellow card on Melton, who served 10 minutes in the “sin bin.”

“I held the ball in the ruck and didn’t let it go,” Melton said. “It was a team. All of us were doing it. I just happened to be the last one.”

The Cougars, led by a bullish run by center Jordan Gray, capitalized when flanker Shaya Grether got over the line in the 21st minute.

Stanford was on BYU’s 3-meter line right before halftime, but couldn’t get the try down before the halftime whistle blew.

Gray set up and scored BYU’s next try when she rambled ahead, then passed to Kim Smith, who passed the ball back to Gray, who got over the line in the 49th minute. A good conversion tied the match 12-12.

Three minutes later, Fonua scored her second try of the match. Gleason was true with her conversion, the Cardinal ahead 19-12.

With the Cougars attacking, Fonua went down with leg cramps in the 65th minute. Play was finally stopped and Fonua refused to leave the field, returning to the pack for a set scrum deep in Stanford territory. The Cougars were thwarted when the Cardinal kicked to touch.

“The best thing Fonua did all match was struggling with cramps and stayed in the game,” Sherman said. “We won a critical scrum at a critical moment. That was the turning point in the game.”

Gray and center Keelia MacLennan, were two backs that the Cardinal was bent on slowing down. For the most part, Stanford did a good job in that department. The match was a contrast from Friday’s Sweet 16 match, which had the Cardinal routing Texas A&M 78-5.

“That was our first real test of the season,” Gleason said. “They had a lot of athletes to counter our athletes.”

Melton showed great promise as a first-year scrumhalf, making a key break with the ball late in the match to gain valuable field position. Now she’s trying to get the Cardinal’s first national women’s rugby crown since 2008.

“It’s amazing to be going to the Final Four,” Melton said. “I have no words. The plan is to win it all.”

 

BYU Enroute to Nationals after PMRC Playin

BYU Women at PMRC Playin UCLA 2014

BYU Women at PMRC Playin UCLA 2014

Saturday April 5, 2014

UCLA, CA – BYU women’s rugby overcame two good sides to earn an automatic bid to the Nationals Playoff competition. The Cougars dominated University of Arizona on Friday April 4th, and ran numerous tries, to finish the day winning by a record 103 – 3.

On Saturday, University of California Santa Barbara put up a solid start and drew first blood when they scored off an intercept and a penalty kick, to put them up 10 – 0 going into the 15th minute. But BYU had other ideas, the women from Utah Valley regrouped and scored 53 unanswered points. Jordan Gray ran in 3 tries and that was supported by Dana Greenwood and Harley Rowland each with 2 tries a piece. Other players contributed to the final score.

The forwards dominated the scrums and had their fair share of lineouts. Defense was led by hardworking Paige Torgerson, Shaye Grether, and Sia Skipps. The Cougars are through to the Sweet 16, Stanford Regional West which includes:

Brigham Young University Cougar Women’s Rugby
Stanford University Women’s Rugby
Texas A & M University Women’s Rugby
University of California, Berkeley Women’s Rugby

The USA College Rugby Competitions Committee has setup Friday Pool Pairings as follows:

Friday,  April 25, 2014 –  Stanford vs Texas A&M – Time: TBD
Saturday, April 26, 2014 – BYU vs Cal – Time: TBD

BYU runs through PMRC East League

Dana Greenwood charges up the line for BYU Cougars against Lady Steelers

Dana Greenwood in action for the BYU Cougars this season.

Saturday, Nov 09, 2013

Provo, UT – The BYU Women’s rugby team, regrouped after the UNM loss, and ran through the league table. The team was able to identify the talents needed to sustain the renowned program. This is a rebuilding year for BYU Women’s Rugby. League results are as follows:

Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 – BYU vs Colorado @ CU; 12.00pm
Score: BYU 96 CU 0

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 – BYU vs Utah U23 @ Provo; Time: 11am
Score: BYU 72 UT U23 17

Saturday, Oct 26, 2013 – Colorado State vs BYU @ Provo; 11.00am
Score: BYU 41 CSU 5

Saturday, Nov 02, 2013 – BYU vs Air Force @ AF; Time: 11.00am
Score: BYU 71 AF 17

Friendly Games:
Friday, Nov 08, 2013 – BYU vs Cal State Long Beach @ CSULB – Time: 8pm
Score: BYU 61 CSULB 0

Saturday, Nov 09, 2013     BYU vs UCLA @ UCLA – Time: 1pm
Score: BYU 81 UCLA 0

UNM Upsets BYU

Written by Alex Goff  – Tuesday, 01 October 2013 19:31 – RugbyMag.com

Keelia Harker charges up the line.

Keelia Harker charges up the line against UNM.

PROVO, UT: The University of New Mexico women’s team pulled off something of an upset this past weekend when they defeated BYU (Women’s Cougar Rugby) 29-17 in league play.

With BYU being among the top teams in the country for some years, now, even a strong team like the Lobos, which returned 13 starters from last year’s playoff-bound squad, is expected to struggle.

But BYU has had their issues, too. With the Mormon Church changing the age that women are expected to go on mission from 21 to 19, a large group of players aged 19-20 left this year, leaving Head Coach Tom Waqa with only five starters from last season, and very few B-siders to fill the gap.

“We are young,” said Waqa. “We have talent and we will get it together, but it will take time.”

UNM was led by some superb work out wide.

Wing Tonya Aragon scored the first try for New Mexico, and then 6-2 wing Whitney White added three from her side. Inside center Erica Speer added a a long-range run for a try from about midfield, while Emma McCaslin added two conversions.

BYU’s scorers were all their more experienced players, with Meigham Stevens scoring two and Jordan Gray one. Dana Greenwood added the single conversion.

“BYU is still a really good team, and I don’t think they will have much trouble with the other teams they have to play,” said UNM Head Coach Shannon Robinson. “They like to run their bigger players up the middle so we needed to defend that. I thought our No. 8 Kedra Davis had an outstanding game leading the way on defense.”

Robinson also had praise for his front row, led by captain Cindy Hollon, for their work in tight. Emma McCaslin at flyhalf and her sister, Brawley, at flanker, along with center Brittany Salazar all played well.

“We’ve returned a lot of starters but we also have an influx of young people,” said Robinson. “We played three freshmen and they all did well. I was just glad we closed it out.”

Down 22-17, BYU was surging late, but New Mexico turned the ball over and put away White for her third try to seal the game. That was a key moment, said Robinson.

As for Waqa and his BYU squad, he said the team will learn lessons from this game and keep working at it. In a couple of years he can expect some older, experienced players to return to school and the team,.

“Right now we made some mistakes, especially on defensive alignment, and we’ll work on those and keep moving forward,” Waqa said.

 

Penn State Edges BYU In Quarter Final

Allendale, Mich., Written by Jackie Finlan – RugbyMag.com    Saturday, 13 April 2013 16:44

Meighan Takes one for BYU

Meighan Lineout take for BYU.

Meighan Stevens Lineout take for BYU

Allendale, Mich., was cold, wet and snowy the past two days, and those DI and DII women’s colleges followed difficult paths to the national semifinals. The teams that adjusted and then executed their modified game plans proved the most successful, and that group includes the reigning DI champ.

A young Penn State earned their return trip to the Final Four, and players must be pleased that the opportunity to defend their title will be staged in sunny Palo Alto, Calif. The Nittany Lions started their campaign with a 58-5 win over West Chester yesterday, but it took some time to build that point differential. PSU put their patented strong scrum to work, and that dominance allowed the team to starve West Chester of possession. It was the breakdown that posed some issues for the defending champs.

“We were pretty happy yesterday, but we actually didn’t start very well,” Penn State coach Pete Steinberg said. “We’re pretty confident in our defense, but all weekend we really struggled giving away penalties and working off of the refs. Some of that might be the way the Midwest referees referee, but they had a different interpretation of the tackle area, and it took us a long time to adjust. The first 30 minutes, West Chester put us under some pressure – we were only up 17-0 – and we weren’t playing very well. But then we had 30 minutes where we really turned it on and were able to play some really good rugby.”

The wind and slick conditions produced a lot of handling errors, so Penn State decided to play a simpler game, focusing on going forward and taking care of the ball.

“We have some really good leaders,” Steinberg said as he reflected on a team that graduated 19 seniors last year. “We’re feeling pretty young, so it takes some time for us to make those adjustments. Scrumhalf Brie Barto did a really good job of tightening things up; it was a very difficult weekend to be a scrumhalf. Our captain Kelsey Harris did a good job of pulling everyone together and telling teammates what they needed to do. It was a gut check – a reminder of how we play. And once we got that reminder, everything worked much better.”

Freshman lock Katie Miller also did well to take up the shift in strategy and is becoming a strong player for the perennial powerhouse. Senior Olivia Lindsay, a natural center, also stepped up and into the flyhalf spot to aid the second-half success.

Women’s Cougar Rugby (aka BYU) was a different story. The teams played each other in last year’s final four, but the Cougars were much improved for the rematch. WCR held Penn State in the scrum, and the Nittany Lions didn’t win a clean lineout all game. But again, penalties in and around tackle area handicapped the teams.

“We had some real challenges with the tackle contest again, and it was making things pretty difficult for us,” Steinberg said. “Both teams had players sin binned for tackle contest issues. The ref was very strict in that area, and we weren’t able to generate much fast ball. That really prevented our attack from working. Defensively, we just gave away too many penalties. Our defense is not about attacking the ball; it’s about positive tackles. BYU was presenting the ball to us, and we were going for it, and we were giving them go-forward.”

The result was a game that was never firmly in Penn State’s favor. WCR has their share of well known, successful players, and they did well to overwork the PSU defense. And with the shaky lineouts, Penn State was less inclined to kick for territory, and therefore, had to take on WCR’s attack under more pressure.

“I look at these games partly with a Penn State eye and partly with a national team eye,” the Women’s National 15s Team coach said. “Inside center Jordan … is a physical, aggressive player, and she was very difficult for us to deal with. Monica Jackson played really well, too. She’s someone we’ve seen in the Eagle pool, and her athleticism around the field is really special.”

The leadership of players like Hope Rogers, who set the example with a physical, tackle-hungry performance all around the field, helped center Penn State. Rogers, along with Bianca Dahl, Kelsey Corbett and Meya Bizer (who also slotted the conversion) dotted down for the 22-10 win.

“Today’s game was disappointing for us,” Steinberg said. “We won, which is good, but we really didn’t play our best. WCR was probably the best competition we’ve had in the last two years. They really caught us in the breakdown. We were able to play some moments of really good rugby that created our tries, but WCR had the upper hand for good parts of the game.

“It keeps us humble,” Steinberg considered the positives of a close win. “This game was in doubt. A different bounce of the ball, and who knows. I was really proud of the team in the second half. Under difficult conditions and the level of penalties we were conceding, we kept our shape and were able to play, so that’s something good.”

Penn State will build on that good over the next couple weeks and prepare for the winner of Navy v Virginia in the semifinals come early May. The Midshipmen defeated Brown 27-12 for the quarterfinal berth, while Virginia trounced Central Florida 46-7 this afternoon. The two Mason Dixon teams saw each other a couple of weeks ago, and Navy edged UVA 21-20 in the conference semifinals.

 

Cougars down Northern Iowa at Round 16

Cougar Rugby News – Friday, 12 April 2013 19:19

Nicole on the run for BYU at LVI 2013

Nicole on the run for BYU at LVI 2013

Nicole on the run for BYU at LVI 2013

Allendale, Mich: The women’s college Round of 16 got a day’s head start in Allendale, Mich., one of four regional sites hosting the national playoffs. DI’s Penn State and Women’s Cougar Rugby won their respective matches as the higher seeds, while DII’s Winona and Denison advanced to the next round after wins today.

Monica Jackson, Nicole McCullough, Nalia Tafua had stellar performances for BYU.

Penn State and WCR were favored to win their games today, as the Nittany Lions look to defend their title and the Cougars are becoming regular fixtures in the final four. PSU downed West Chester rather easily, 58-5, while Northern Iowa gave WCR a much better game during their 29-7 loss.

BYU Defeats Air Force at LVI 2013

Boaz charges up the line against Air Force at LVI 2013

Rebekah Boaz charges up the line against Air Force at LVI 2013

Las Vegas, NV: Friday Feb 7, 2013

BYU defeats Air Force women 58 – 0 to win the Pacific Mountain Rugby Conference – East League. The Cougars have earned a trip to the College Sweet 16 to be held in Allendale, Michigan.  They will be in the same pool as Northern Iowa, Penn State, and West Chester.

http://www.usarugby.org/college-championships/womens-division-i-college

 

BYU Women Down Colorado

Saturday, November 3, 2012 – Cougar Rugby  News

Cougar Women shows up in a ruck against CO – Paige, Nalia & Boaz & Company.

Provo, UT – BYU Women defeats a young Colorado University side Saturday winning by 67 – 12. BYU Women dominated the set pieces and breakdown from the get go, and started piling up points after 10 minutes of play. The Cougars made some unforced errors in the beginning by made up for that later in the game.

Rebekah Siebach, back, from China International 7s tournament last week, was on hand, to give her team a boost. Paige Torgerson (6) and Amber Ah Sue (7)  also had outstanding performances.

Colorado had two consolation tries towards the very end of the game, but the game was already one for BYU.

Final Score: BYU 67 Colorado 12

Jordan delivers ball for BYU against CO

Jordan Gray delivers ball for BYU against Colorado.

BYU Women overcome CSU

Saturday Oct 27, 2012 – Cougar Rugby News

Nicole McCullough with ball in hand.

Nicole McCullough charges on pick and go.

Fort Collins, CO – BYU Women overcame a strong CSU pack playing on home field, and won 19 – 7.

Final Score: BYU 19 CSU 7. Tries – Jordan Gray 3 Conversion – Jessie Beck 2  UNM 1 try

Cougars over Utah Steelers Selection

Saturday – Oct 20, 2012 – Cougar Rugby News

Dana Greenwood charges up the line for BYU Cougars against Lady Steelers

Dana Greenwood charges up the line for BYU Cougars against Lady Steelers

Provo, UT – Cougar Women took on the Lady Steelers on Saturday Oct 20, standing in for Air Force who could not travel for military reasons. Led by senior Ellexis Khan, BYU Cougars won 39 – 7.

Cougar Women down UNM Lobos

Saturday October 13, 2012 – Cougar Rugby News

Keelia Maclennan on the run against UNM

Winger Keelia Maclennan on the run against UNM Fall 2012

Albuquerque, NM – BYU overcame a strong UNM squad and pulled away 51 -12.

Womens Cougar Rugby Twitter feed ‏@byuwomensrugby

2 more tries, BYU 51 – UNM 12. No. 8 Nalia try capped it off. Game over.

13 Oct Womens Cougar Rugby Womens Cougar Rugby ‏@byuwomensrugby

BYU recycles, backs ball. Try Siebach. 34 – 12. Good ball again try BYU Amber 39 – 12.
13 Oct Womens Cougar Rugby Womens Cougar Rugby ‏@byuwomensrugby

UNM pressure. Turnover, try UNM no. 11. 27 – 10.
13 Oct Womens Cougar Rugby Womens Cougar Rugby ‏@byuwomensrugby

BYU applying pressure UNM 22. Turnover. Try Keelia. 27 – 5 Cougars.
13 Oct Womens Cougar Rugby Womens Cougar Rugby ‏@byuwomensrugby

Good recyling by UNM. Try UNM, 22-5. Half Time.
13 Oct Womens Cougar Rugby Womens Cougar Rugby ‏@byuwomensrugby

8 man pick by Nalia on blind side, off load, Siebach, try. 22-0 Cougars.
13 Oct Womens Cougar Rugby Womens Cougar Rugby ‏@byuwomensrugby

3 phases, wide ball, try Siebach 17-0 BYU.
13 Oct Womens Cougar Rugby Womens Cougar Rugby ‏@byuwomensrugby

Try Siebach. Jessie converts 12 – 0 Cougars.
13 Oct Womens Cougar Rugby Womens Cougar Rugby ‏@byuwomensrugby

Quick tap 5th minute, try Rebekah Boaz. 5-0 Cougars.

Kick Off 1pm 13 Oct 2012

BYU Women Dominates Utah State

Cougar Rugby News – Saturday September 22, 2012

Meighan Stevens Charges for BYU against USU

Meighan Stevens Charges upfront for BYU against USU – Photo by Ellexis Khan

PROVO, UT – BYU Women’s cougars started the season on a good performance against Utah State University. The Cougars dominated upfront, and capitalized on a young Utah State side. BYU won 114 – 7. This is the first time the Cougar women have scored a century in any rugby game.

BYU led at the half 72 – 0. Siebach led on scoring with 5 tries. The backs were able to move the ball at will, and exploit gaps on USU defenses.

USU did sneak one consolation try in the end but game was already in the bag for BYU. Final score: BYU 114 USU 7.

Tom Waqa – USOC National Volunteer Coach of the Year

USOC PRESS BOX – TEAMUSA.ORG – JUNE 19, 2012

Alan Ashley, USOC Chief Of Sports Performance; Coach Tom Waqa

Alan Ashley, USOC Chief Of Sports Performance presents Tom Waqa with USOC National Volunteer Coach of the Year Award

INDIANAPOLIS – The United States Olympic Committee today announced James Hrbek (judo; Schertz, Texas), Neal Henderson (cycling; Boulder, Colo.), Tom Waqa (rugby; Provo, Utah), Dave Denniston (Paralympic swimming; Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Rick Bower (snowboarding; Park City, Utah) as the recipients of its 2011 Coach of the Year honors. The winners were recognized here tonight at a reception during the 2012 National Coaching Conference at the NCAA Hall of Champions.

Hrbek was named the Developmental Coach of the Year, while Henderson took home the Doc Councilman Science Award. Meanwhile, Waqa was awarded Volunteer Coach of the Year and Denniston was recognized as the Paralympic Coach of the Year. Finally, Bower was named the Olympic Coach of the Year.

“These five coaches have impacted countless athletes throughout their exemplary careers,” said Alan Ashley, USOC chief of sport performance. “They are shining examples of the team behind the team and their efforts have encouraged athletes of all levels to strive for excellence.”

National Governing Bodies selected their 2011 Coaches of the Year as part of the USOC Coach of the Year Recognition Program. The three finalists in each category were chosen by a panel of coaching and sport education professionals.

2011 USOC COACHES OF THE YEAR

Olympic Coach of the Year – Rick Bower
During his six seasons as coach of the U.S. snowboarding halfpipe team, Bower has played an integral role in advancing women’s snowboarding. In 2011, he led his athletes to 31 major event podiums and took snowboarding to new heights after helping Kelly Clark become the first female to land a 1080 in competition. This achievement, at the pinnacle of snowboarding events for the year, had a monumental influence on up-and-coming female athletes and the progression of women’s snowboarding. For his efforts, Bower was recognized as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association International Coach of the Year and USSA International Snowboarding Coach of the Year in 2011.

Paralympic Coach of the Year – Dave Denniston

Tom Waqa - 2011 USOC National Volunteer Coach of the Year

Tom Waqa – 2011 USOC National Volunteer Coach of the Year

In his second year as a U.S. Paralympics resident swimming coach at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Denniston was selected to lead Team USA at the Pan-Pacific Para-Swimming Championships. In 2011, 14 of his 16 athletes were selected to major international teams, where they consistently exceled on the world stage. Among his athletes, Jessica Long collected nine gold medals in nine events, while shattering four world records. A 2008 U.S. Paralympian, Denniston also conducts speaking engagements to share his journey form an able-bodied Olympic hopeful to a Paralympic athlete turned mentor. His experience has allowed him to integrate his team practices with elite able-bodied team practices, helping assist athletes on both teams reach higher goals.

Developmental Coach of the Year – James Hrbek
Devoted to building the sport of judo in the United States, Hrbek scours the world to find unique judo tournaments and training opportunities for young Americans to gain international experience. In 2011, he coordinated the entire junior program for USA Judo, which fielded U.S. teams for dozens of national and international tournaments and assembled U.S. contingents of more than 50 people. As chairman of USA Judo’s Junior Athlete Performance Committee, Hrbek created a database of parents, coaches and athletes that can be used in various judo activities. It is his belief that if properly educated, U.S. junior athletes will have the knowledge to one day become successful coaches themselves, an essential step in building the sport nationally.

Volunteer Coach of the Year – Tom Waqa
Now in his sixth season as the head coach of Brigham Young University’s women’s rugby team, Waqa has played a key role in molding an unsponsored and formerly unrecognized team into a nationally ranked formidable force. The Fiji native has helped produce All-American nominees in each of his seven seasons, highlighted by 2011 honorees Kristi Jackson, Monica Jackson and Rebekah Siebach, who propelled the Cougars to the Final Four. He also helps identify young talent to compete in the Under-20 National All-Star Championships, which routinely produce scouting opportunities for U.S. national teams. In addition to coaching at BYU, Waqa also volunteers as the Humless men’s rugby coach.

Doc Counsilman Science Award – Neal Henderson
For years, Henderson has been at the forefront of applying scientific principles in the lab and on the field to improve athlete performance in the world of cycling. During the 2010-11 season, he formulated additional tools and protocols for aerodynamic drag analysis, which helped determine the specific power required for cyclists to attain a given speed. The results helped pace Team USA to a silver-medal finish at the 2011 UCI Track Cycling World Championships. Later that summer, Henderson continued aerodynamic testing to help identify the best wheel combinations for U.S. cyclists competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. A rare, dual-certified elite U.S cycling and U.S. triathlon coach, Henderson has been instrumental in establishing training methods based on exercise physiology, including supplemental oxygen training and a computrainer program for junior cyclists at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL COACHES CONFERENCE
Hosted by the USA Coaching Coalition – comprised of the USOC, NCAA, National Federation of State High School Associations and National Association for Sport and Physical Education – the annual National Coaches Conference focuses on enhancing coaching knowledge and disseminating the latest research, trends and innovations in order to develop beginner to elite athletes. USOC, National Governing Body, university and sport professionals present on topics based on the National Standards for Sport Coaches.

ALL-TIME USOC COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD RECIPIENTS

Olympic Coach of the Year

1996 Tara VanDerveer, U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Coach
1997 Frank Carroll, Olympic Figure Skating Coach, Coach of Michelle Kwan
1998 Ben Smith, U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Coach
1999 Chris Carmichael, Cycling Coach, Coach of Lance Armstrong
2000 Richard Quick, U.S. Olympic Women’s Swimming Coach
2001/02 Pete del’Giudice, U.S. Snowboarding Coach
2003 Lloyd Woodhouse, USA Shooting National Team Coach
2004 Mike Candrea, USA Softball Women’s National Team Coach
2005 Eddie Reese, USA Swimming Men’s National Team Coach
2006 Bud Keene, U.S. Snowboarding Coach
2007 Guy Baker, USA Water Polo National Team Coach
2008 Hugh McCutcheon, USA Men’s Volleyball National Team Coach
2009 Bob Bradley, U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team Coach
2010 Brian Shimer, U.S. Men’s Bobsled Head Coach
2011 Rick Bower, U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Coach

Paralympic Coach of the Year

2004 Mike Hulett, USA Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team Coach
2005 Randi Smith, U.S. Paralympic Archery Team Head Coach
2006 Julie O’Neill, U.S. Paralympic Swim Team Head Coach
2007 Adam Bleakney, U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Track Coach
2008 Ken Armbruster, U.S. Paralympic Women’s Goalball Head Coach
2009 Scott Moore, Denver Judo Coach
2010 Ray Watkins, 2010 U.S. Paralympic Alpine Ski Team
2011 Dave Denniston, U.S. Paralympic Swimming Head Coach

Developmental Coach of the Year

1996 Jeff Shaffer, University of Southern California
1997 Dianne Holum, Speedskating
1998 Mike Stafford, Millvale Golden Gloves Gym (Cincinnati)
1999 Tom Healy, Northbrook (Ill.) Speedskating Club
2000 Fred Zimny, Luge (Lake Placid, N.Y.)
2001/02 Mike Eaves, U.S. National Under-18 Hockey Team
2003 Bob Fraley, Fresno State (Calif.) University Track & Field
2004 Dwayne Miller, Norfolk (Va.) Real Deal Track Club
2005 Tammy Gambill, U.S. Figure Skating
2006 Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson, U.S. Figure Skating
2007 Paul Yetter, USA Swimming
2008 Rajul Sheth, Table Tennis (Milpitas, Calif.)
2009 John Wingfield, Director and Head Coach of USA Diving National Training Center
2010 Michael Nyitray, Bowling (Miami, Fla.)
2011 James Hrbek, USA Judo

Volunteer Coach of the Year

2003 Carol Hardemon, Metro Dade (Fla.) Track Club
2004 Barry Hunter, Washington, D.C. Boxing Coach
2005 Cindi Hart, IndySpeed Sport Club Head Coach (Speedskating)
2006 Booker Woods, LA JETS Head Coach (Track)
2007 Sherman Nelson, USA Taekwondo Coach
2008 Rita Gladstone, Area Tennis League Coordinator (Volusia County, Fla.)
2009 Brian McCutcheon, Taekwondo Coach and Oahu Taekwondo Center Instructor
2010 Dave Farmer, Aurora (Colo.) Saracens Rugby Club Coach
2011 Tom Waqa, Brigham Young University Rugby Coach

Doc Counsilman Science Award

2004 Joe Vigil, Track & Field
2005  Dr. Kyle Pierce, USA Weightlifting
2006 Kate Arbour, U.S. Figure Skating
2007 Sean O’Neill, U.S. Paralympics Table Tennis
2008 Dave Bennett, USA Wrestling
2009 Heidi Thibert, U.S. Figure Skating and Edora Pool and Ice Center Coach
2010 Dr. Grant Schaffner, Skeleton
2011 Neal Henderson, USA Cycling

Tom Waqa ; BYU Professor/Football Coach Mel Olson at USOC Coach Conference

Tom Waqa and BYU Professor/Football Coach Mel Olson at USOC Coach Conference

BYU Women Final 4 Bound

Rebekah Siebach in action at Sweet 16 - OSU, Columbus, OH

Rebekah Siebach in action at Sweet 16 - OSU, Columbus, OH

Eric Taber | NCS Media Director | USA Rugby | etaber@usarugby.org

Boulder, Colo. – There were points a plenty for the second day in a row of the Emirates Airline USA Rugby Women’s Division I & II College Playoffs. Massive scores from coast to coast gave plenty of teams momentum going into the round of eight, while the Cougar Women (BYU) punched their ticket to the Final Four in emphatic fashion.

The Cougar Women advanced to the round of 8 yesterday without having a point scored against them. They continued their winning ways today blanking Northern Iowa 44-0, bringing their two-day total in Columbus, Ohio to 98-0. With the win today the Cougar Women advance to Stanford for the National Semi-Finals.

The cream of the Emirates Airline Division I and II Women’s College Playoffs rose to the top on the third straight day of competition. After some massive blowouts and last second heart stoppers, America’s best DI and II rugby programs are now ready to do battle.

The Women’s Division I quarterfinals pitted some old rivals against each other, and the result is 4 Semi Finalists that have been battle tested and ready to fight for a National Championship.

The first match of the day between Penn State and Navy was made extra-interesting due to the fact that Navy had knocked off defending National Champion Army the previous day. The Nittany Lion Women were led by Sadie Anderson who scored a try and kicked three conversions en-route to a big 36-0 win over Navy.

Penn State will square off against Cougar Women’s Rugby (BYU), a team that made easy work of it’s competition in the opening rounds of the playoffs, scoring 98 points, and having zero scored against them.

The Brown Bears, one of the perennial powerhouses in Women’s College Rugby showed a talented Virginia team they once again must be considered favorites to win a National Championship. “Bruno” scored nearly all their 38 points through Chelsea Garber and Patricia Ekpo. The duo put Brown up 19-0 at halftime, and the game would never be in doubt for the Bears from then on as they mounted a 38-10 final score.

Stanford reached the round of four having to go through rival and local foe, the California Golden Bears. It would be the home team’s day however as Stanford rose to meet the Cal challenge and six players for the Cardinal would find the try zone. Leading the pack was Amelia Villines with two.

The DI Semis are set for Friday, May 11th at Steuber Rugby Stadium on the Stanford Campus. The action kicks off at 2 p.m. with Penn State vs Cougar Women, followed by Brown vs Stanford at 4pm.

Washington State will make a return trip to Stanford to attempt to reclaim their  2010 National Championship title following a 34-7 victory over Wyoming. The Cougars of the Palouse were led by Alexis and Megan Bonny who scored 20 points between them to beat WYO. Wazzu will face an impressive looking Norwich outfit in the national semis.

Also no stranger to the National Semi Finals is Shippensburg, who earned their return trip following a 21-5 win over Temple. Shippensburg will face Winona to round out the DII bracket.

The DI and DII Semi Finals will be held May 11 and 12 at Stanford University, California.

Match Date Field Time Team 1 Team 2 Division
1 Friday 1 10:00 Norwich Washington State DII Semi-final
2 Friday 1 12:00 Shippensburg Winona State DII Semi-final
3 Friday 1 2:00 Penn State Cougar Women DI Semi-final
4 Friday 1 4:00 Brown Stanford DI Semi-final
Match Date Field Time Team 1 Team 2 Division
5 Saturday 1 9:00 Loser 1 Loser 2 DII Consolation
6 Saturday 1 11:00 Loser 3 Loser 4 DI Consolation
7 Saturday 1 1:00 Winner 1 Winner 2 DII Championship
8 Saturday 1 3:00 Winner 3 Winner 4 DI Championship
BYU Women Over OSU Buckeyes Round of 16 - 2012

BYU Women Over OSU Buckeyes Round of 16 - 2012

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