Northeast Academy Women’s Rugby Squad: Cayman Islands Halloween 7s

October 9, 2015

Northeast Academy Women’s Rugby Squad: Cayman Islands Halloween 7s

Elite City LadiesCayman sticker

Photo: Northeast Academy and Cayman Island Rugby

Doug Coil

Northeast Academy Press Release: (Entire) Ryan Trost, Northeast Academy, Director of Communications – Northeast Academy Women’s Squad for Cayman Islands Halloween 7’s International Invitational Tournament

“New York, NY; (October 9, 2015) – The Northeast Academy women’s 7’s team (NEA) will be attending the second annual Halloween 7’s Women’s Rugby Invitational at the Cayman Islands, during the weekend of Oct. 30th and 31st. After a two month hiatus from Sevens, it will be interesting to see how the USAR sanctioned pathway performs in its second ever high profile event. All of the Academy women have been involved with their home club 15’s matches throughout the early part of the fall, so fitness should not be an issue. Teams like the WPL’s New York Rugby Club (NYRC), and Division 1’s Beantown and Boston Women’s RFC (BWRFC) have been hard at work this fall season.

“It is always tough to switch off 15’s mode and into 7’s,” said NEA Women’s Assistant Coach, Tom Feury. “I would like to shorten that process, and the only way to do that is to have them hit it harder in our first (training) session when we land… full pace and contact to get their brains switched into 7’s gear sooner rather than later.” The Academy team is coming into the event with a business first mentality. The staff will expect a better showing with continued improvement from the Elite City 7’s tournament last August, understanding that this event too will face some very high end competition.

The Caymans’ inaugural 2014 event saw Rugby Ecosse of Scotland win the championship Cup, while Dallas Harlequins earned the third place Bowl trophy. Both squads will be on hand again this year at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in Georgetown. Host, Cayman Rugby 7’s Selects will of course be competing for a second consecutive year, along with Ecosse, Dallas and Mexico’s National Women’s 7’s team. Joining the party anew in 2015, will be the Northeast Academy, Florida Rugby Union and the ever powerful, Atlantis Women’s Sevens.

The Academy squad will see eight athletes earning their second Academy cap, after having competed at Elite City 7’s. There will also be first impression opportunities for four members who were not able to make that inaugural trip to Philadelphia. Former USA Under-20 and College All-American, Miranda Wakimoto heads the list of first time players with the Academy. She will be joined by Tara Harten, Sophia Peduzzi and Amy Verdonik as “rookies” on the tour. Verdonik is the only current college student included on the roster.

Returning veterans for the Academy team include former Atlantis halfback Rosalie MacGowan and current Beantown standout, Sarah Buonopane, who put on an especially effective defensive showing at Elite City two months ago. NYRC’s try scoring machine Tiana Stroughter will also be back on the pitch with the Academy to face the international flair of this excellent Caribbean event.

Interestingly, the Atlantis squad will also be boasting the inclusion of one of the Northeast Academy’s 2015 women’s recruits, Amanda -Mickey- Ghannam. A driven rugby player with an excellent work ethic, Ghannam signed on for full time residence at the American Rugby Pro Training Center (partner Academy to the NEA) near the end of summer, before being approached by Atlantis for this tournament. In yet another display of unity between USA Rugby sanctioned Academies, the NEA and ARPTC were very happy to see Mickey get the opportunity to play with the renowned Atlantis club. NEA Women’s head coach, John McGeachy said of the collaboration, “I think that this situation will work well, as it allows us to get an additional Academy player to the tournament and will allow Tom and I to get a better look at Mickey in a more competitive environment.”

As both temperatures and leaves continue to fall up north, getting some time to run wild playing the Seven a Side game in the sun of the Caribbean could be just the recharge their athletes need with the annual NY 7’s event at Randall Island on Thanksgiving weekend and December’s Trinidad & Tobago 7’s both on the horizon. After that it is time settle into the long indoor winter training season back home, in preparation for the LVI’s on March 3 – 5, 2016.

Northeast Academy Roster for Cayman Islands Halloween 7’s:

1.Lucia Oswald (NYRC), 2. Morgan Roberts (BWRFC), 3. Sarah Appleton (BWRFC), 4. Lisa Van Eerde (BWRFC), 5. Tara Harten (Village Lions), 6. Deanna Nash (BWRFC), 7. Miranda Wakimoto (BWRFC), 8. Rosalie MacGowan (NYRC), 9. Sarah Buonopane (Beantown), 10. Tiana Stroughter (NYRC), 11. Amy Verdonik (Scranton University), 12. Sophia Peduzzi (Beantown)

Coaches: HC John McGeachy, Ass’t Coach Tom Feury

Northeast Academy

The Northeast Academy, with training squads in New York City and Boston, is a National Development Academy that has been sanctioned by USA Rugby as the official Academy (Men & Women) in the Northeast of America and as a designated pathway to the USA Eagles National Team selection. The purpose of the Academy is to identify, develop and prepare Sevens rugby players with the intention of placing ambitious athletes onto the USA National teams and future USA Olympic teams. The Academy will provide athletes with top level coaching, physical preparation, and playing competition to accelerate their personal development as Sevens players in line with current USA Eagles High Performance criteria.”


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