North Bay Rugby's High School Girls' Team has been invited to the National High School Rugby Championships that take place this weekend in Pittsfield, Mass. They are one of 16 teams invited to compete for the national title.
"This is a once in a lifetime accomplishment and will go down in our history as a crowning achievement for all of North Bay," said Ellen Hickey, North Bay Rugby's Youth and High School Commissioner.
North Bay had an impressive perfect season in league play, going undefeated with only two tries scored against them. Ranked first going into the Rugby Maryland State Championship Finals, they emerged with the girls' high school Division I championship after defeating Eleanor Roosevelt High School 67-0. Coincidentally, North Bay's Division II team was also ranked first and captured the Division II title by defeating TC Williams High School 75-5.
The team also participated in two international tournaments this season with a spectacular showing at both, winning 6 of their 7 matches. These tournaments presented the greatest challenge while facing Canadian teams and fellow NIT invitees.
Their pre-game chant, "I Believe That We Will Win," has been a defining message for the entire team. The team has truly embodied this motto while working tirelessly toward the most challenging of goals.
"I believe….that our destiny is yet to be fulfilled," said head coach Scott Hoffman.
Thirty-two girls will make the trip and play, while a small group of eighth graders will not be allowed to participate.
The active players are Emily Abrecht, Anna Benko, Casey Calder, Taylor Carty, Katelyn Comeau, Megan Cooper, Adrianna Davids, Sloane Dela Cruz, Emilia Ferrara, Mina Georgiades, Rien Hachmann, Ciera Harbaugh, Jessica Holden, Rachel Hornung, Brianna Imeidopf, Samantha Kelly, Breanna Knorr, Morgan Lippert, Hope Nesbitt, Lila O'Bryant, Janie Cape Ranken, Elisa Rivera, Stephanie Rivera, Alex Rose, Hannah Sample, Amber Steinehilber, Margo Sybert, Kathryn Thompson, Sarah Thompson, Carley Tilton, Paige Ward and Emily Woodruff.
Scott Hoffman is the head coach with assistance from coaches Jaymie Schwarting, David Bayne, Zeno Pizzighella and Breanna Matarazzo.
The eighth grade teammates unable to participate are Lexus Brooks, Samantha Imeidopf, Kirsten McDonough, Shannon Mister, Kaitlyn Schwarting and Hailey Thomas.
An Aberdeen Parks and Recreation Program, North Bay Youth Rugby was started in 2000 with U-19 High School Rugby following in 2004. Throughout the years, students representing every high school in Harford County have participated. In addition, players from Baltimore and Cecil Counties, as well as home schooled students, have signed up to learn about and compete in this unique sport. Each year, 90 high schoolers and 90 youth participate in the rugby program.