Serevi Rugby is sponsoring a USA women’s developmental 7s team, the Serevi Selects, to the Coral Coast Sevens in Fiji, Nov. 14-16. Led by Serevi coach Richie Walker, the squad was compiled in conjunction with USA Women 7s coach Ric Suggitt and features a mixture of Eagle 7s pool players, young recruits at the Olympic Training Center, and promising collegians.
Leading the team in experience are Christy Ringgenberg and Irene Gardner. The duo last competed at the Sevens Rugby World Cup over the summer and will be invaluable resources for this young squad.
Although still in college, Penn State’s Meya Bizer is next on the list in terms of experience. The last two years have been very busy for Bizer, who has banked most of her international experience with the senior 15s team, but also traveled to China with the USA 7s and England with the Women’s Junior Collegiate All Americans for the U20 Nations Cup.
Same for recent Washington State graduate Megan Bonny, who played in the centers for the USA 15s over the summer. An impressive outing convinced Suggitt to contract the youngster at least until the end of the year. Rebekah Siebach has toured with the USA 7s as well, and she, too, has been living in Chula Vista since the summer.
Siebach and Bonny are joined by fellow OTC residents Lorrie Clifford and Liz Sowers. The pair are the first crossover athletes to enter the women’s program, with Clifford hailing from Western Oregon basketball and Sowers from USA football. They have very little rugby experience and all eyes will be on their performances in Fiji. Hannah Lopez has been training at the OTC for all of 2013 and will also get her first shot against an international field.
In the bottom tier (experience wise), the remaining four players span the range of familiarity. After Erin Overcash graduated Colorado University, she stepped onto the USA 15s team this summer. She didn’t get much time on the field, but she was electric during the club 7s championship for Berkeley. Then-teammate Lucy Croy is a well known name – in 15s. But Suggitt was impressed with her field vision and decision-making as she adjusted to the faster pace of play. The USA 7s coach indicated that Croy is a player he is going to watch.
Amelia Villines played for Suggitt during his first outing as USA 7s coach, but we didn’t see her on another squad after that Las Vegas tournament. She continued to shine as Stanford’s star No. 8 and there was some worry she might have left rugby behind after she graduated in spring 2012. She’s back, hopefully for good.
Finally, there’s Dana Meschisi. She’s an All American who impressed onlookers at the all-star 7s championship while playing for the South. The Florida State scrumhalf intrigued Suggitt and Walker, and she’s making her debut on a USA representative side.
The Serevi Selects do not know their draw yet, but Fiji will be entering two sides, and Australia is sending a rep side in the Pearls. Walker will reconvene with the team on Thursday, Nov. 7 before flying to Fiji that Sunday.
While this squad is not a USA national team, it is a developmental tool and standouts will be evaluated for possible inclusion in the Dubai 7s squad. Serevi Rugby is sponsoring all aspects of this tour - apparel, accommodation, travel, etc.
Women's Serevi Selects - Coral Coast Sevens, Nov. 14-16
Sowers, Liz *
* USA 7s full-time resident