USA Rugby Women’s Eagles Sevens Residency Athletes

USA Rugby Release – Aalina Tabini

CHULA VISTA, CA. – USA Rugby has announced the names of 24 athletes who will train full-time as part of the Women’s Eagles Sevens Residency Program at the U.S. Olympic Training Site in Chula Vista, CA. Players will be available for selection for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 and PanAm Games 2019 with the potential to also compete in developmental Falcons tours.

The roster includes 19 players who have made appearances on the Sevens Series circuit with five who still seek their national team debut. Of those five are Kasey McCravey, Kate Herran, Kristi Kirshe, Nikki Kenyon and Eti Haungatau. Haungatau is the youngest player in residency at only 18 years old while McCravey and Kirshe will look to make their debut at Sydney Sevens 2019.

The Women’s Sevens Residency Program will be fully-integrated with the Women’s National Team 15s where all resident-athletes can also be selected for the Women’s Eagles. While decisions will be made on an individual basis, both programs will work hand-in-hand to provide athletes with multiple opportunities to compete and excel at the international level.

During the course of the year, resident athletes will engage in a full-time training program led by Women’s Sevens Head Coach Chris Brown, aimed at growing rugby knowledge, building core skills and preparing for tournaments through the season.

High performance (HP) training camps take place at various points within the residency program’s regular regimen where non-resident athletes are also invited to the Olympic Training Site. Camps will be themed in one of three groups: wider pool players, Next Generation players as part of the Hawk-Eye program or Talent Transfer prospects which include crossover athletes from other sports. HP camps serve as an intense period of preparation where national team coaches and staff are evaluating players for selection to the residency program and/or upcoming competition.

General Manager for Women’s High-Performance Emilie Bydwell said: “We are very excited about our 2018-2019 season residency group, the competition within the squad for World Series selection now has a significant impact on our ability to improve and compete for the program’s first-ever top-four finish.

“The pathway programs — whether that be age grades, national club competition, and National Development Academies — are producing an increasingly higher quality of player and athlete. This is directly complemented by the programs’ continuing initiative to identify top tier athletes to transfer into rugby. We will be using the rest of this season and the summer to finalize our squad for the Olympic year and create the platform for a medal performance in Tokyo.”

The Women’s Eagles Sevens will next compete in the third round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series at HSBC Sydney Sevens Jan 31-Feb 3. Currently sitting in third place, the team will need to conclude the season in the Top 4 in order to automatically qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Sydney Sevens may be streamed live on

USA Women’s Sevens 2019 Resident-Athletes

Player Name Former Club/School HSBC Tournaments
Meya Bizer San Diego Surfers 2
Ashlee Byrge San Diego Surfers 1
Kayla Canett Penn State University 3
Lauren Doyle Eastern Illinois University 23
Cheta Emba Harvard University 10
Nana Fa’avesi Sacramento Amazons 18
Jordan Gray Brigham Young University (BYU) 6
Abby Gustaitis Scion Rugby 6
Eti Haungatau SacPal Rugby (HS) 0
Nicole Heavirland Army West Point 15
Kate Herren U.S. Marine Corps 0
Alev Kelter unattached 28
Nikki Kenyon Life West Gladiatrix 0
Kristi Kirshe Boston Rugby 0
Natalie Kosko Lindenwood University 2
Ilona Maher Quinnipiac University 3
Kasey McCravey Army West Point 0
Kiki Morgan Scion Rugby 2
Alena Olsen San Diego Surfers 2
Hope Rogers San Diego Surfers 3
Stephanie Rovetti San Diego Surfers 2
Naya Tapper University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 13
Kris Thomas University of Central Florida 18
Lauren Thunen Santa Barbara Rugby 1

USA Women’s Sevens Staff

General Manager, Women’s High Performance | Emilie Bydwell
Head Coach | Chris Brown
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Matt Long
Head of Physical Performance | Dave Gardner
Athletic Trainer | Nicole Titmas
Team Manager | Liz Strohecker

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 Schedule

Colorado, USA
Oct 21-22, 2018
Second-place (Silver medal)

Dubai, UAE
November 29-30, 2018
Fourth place

Sydney, Australia
February 1-3, 2019
View Roster | WATCH on

Kitakyushu, Japan
April 20-21, 2019

Langford, Canada
May 11-12, 2019

Biarritz, France
June 15-16, 2019

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