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Tom Waqa - USOC National Volunteer Coach of the Year

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

BYU Women Final 4 Bound

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.

BYU Dominate Quarters

Samantha Wright scores 3 tries against UNI - Sweet 16, 2012

Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 21 April 2012 16:40 - RugbyMag.com

Women's Cougar Rugby (BYU) dominated Northern Iowa on their way to a 44-0 victory and a place in the national women's DI college semifinals.

WCR's bracket played Friday and Saturday so as not to have the BYU students play on Sunday. It seemed that just about any day, the Utah team was going to play well.

"I was especially pleased with our defense," said Head Coach Tom Waqa. "It was a good team effort. Both Ohio State on Friday and UNI played really hard and never gave up. We had to work hard. We had a tough schedule leading up to this weekend and I think it showed."

Captain Samantha Wright, normally a flanker but playing lock on Saturday, was superb on defense and also scored the team's second try, six minutes after wing Keelia Harker opened the WCR account.

But UNI hung tough and it was only 12-0 going into halftime. Then, just before the first half ended, BYU got a penalty near the UNI line.

"The forwards called for the ball and said they wanted it, and they rolled it in," said Waqa. "That was, I think, a turning point."

Wright scored that try too, and led a forward effort that Waqa praised highly.

"We have good backs and they scored some tries, but it all comes from what our forwards are able to do," he said.

Wing Rebekah Siebach and flanker Ela Wolfgramm scored tries early in the second half, and then Siebach added another to make it 34-0 at 52 minutes. Wright added her third (converted by Chelsea Hill) and then Dana Greenwood put a cap on it with a drop goal.

Ohio State won the consolation semi 43-27 over Colorado, falling behind 27-0 and then reeling off seven straight tries, four of them by Courtney Milon.

BYU Coach Named Finalist for USOC Honor

Christy Cahill - USOC MEDIA
April 4, 2012

U.S. Olympic Committee announces finalists for Coach of the Year awards

Tom Waqa - USOC Volunteer Coach National Finalist

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Olympic Committee today unveiled finalists for the 2011 USOC Coach of the Year awards. Three finalists were selected for each category, including National Coach of the Year, Paralympic Coach of the Year, Developmental Coach of the Year, Volunteer Coach of the Year and the Doc Councilman Science Award.

All five recipients will be announced during a welcome reception on Tuesday, June 19, as part of the 2012 National Coaching Conference at the NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis.

U.S. Olympic, Paralympic and Pan American sports organizations selected their 2011 Coaches of the Year as part of the USOC Coach of the Year Recognition Program. The finalists in each category were chosen by a panel of coaching and sport education professionals. Information on all finalists can be found here.

The 2011 finalists:

National Coach of the Year
Rick Bower - Snowboarding
Adam Soldati - Diving
Marina Zouvea - Figure Skating

Paralympic Coach of the Year
Joaquim Cruz - Track and Field
Dave Denniston - Swimming
Matt Oberholtz - Water Skiing

Developmental Coach of the Year
Chris Haslock - Skiing
James Hrbek - Judo
Jill Rankin Schneider - Basketball

Volunteer Coach of the Year
Jimmy Cuevas - Paralympic Track and Field
Chris Preble - Bowling
Tom Waqa - Rugby

Lethbridge Pronghorns Edge Cougars

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Jordan Gray charging up the line for BYU against CSU 2011

Saturday March 31, 2012 - By Cougar Rugby Editor

Watch Global Lethbridge Sports Highlights from 14:25minute onwards for a recap of the game in Lethbridge.

Lethbridge, Canada - The University of Lethbridge took on the BYU Women's Cougars and edged the visitors 5 - 3. It was quite the experience, as the Cougars travelled to Canada on Thursday, spent Friday in Raymond High School doing a rugby clinic, and then site seeing along Waterton Park and Cardston.

Saturday was the big day when at 5pm, the Cougars took on the a solid Lethbridge side who put on a fine defensive game. Possesion and penalty count favored the Cougars, but Lethbridge held strong to an unconverted try to win the game, in front a packed stadium crowd of over 1000 spectators. The Cougars had opportunities to put the game away, but failed under intense defensive pressure from the home team.

Final score: University of Lethbridge 5 BYU Cougars 3

Glendale Raptors down Cougars

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Saturday March 17, 2012 - Cougar Rugby Editor

 

Nalia, Sydney, and Kenzi on WCR tour squad 2012

Glendale, CO -Glendale took on a young Cougar side, and won the contest by 39 to 22. Cougars stood toe to toe with the Womens Premier club in the first half, but the physical DI pack took control over the seconds half and pulled away.

Tara McGrady led the Raptors with 3 tries of her own. She was named player of the match. Star Monson stood out for the Cougars, dotting two tries for the day.

The Cougars gained valuable experience from the trip.

Tom Waqa – 2011 USOC Volunteer Coach of the Year for Rugby

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By David Halvorson Jr. | Communications Manager | USA Rugby- Friday February 24, 2012

Tom Waqa - 2011 USOC Volunteer Coach of the Year for Rugby

 

Tomasi Waqa is inspiring America to fall in love with rugby every day.  He is the coach of the BYU Women’s Rugby team, the coach of the Humless Men’s Rugby Club, a U-20 NASC Selector and between the three he balances a family life with two children, his duties as President of the Utah Fiji association, and an active member of the LDS Church.  Whether it be on the pitch or not, Tomasi Waqa’s life is dedicated to helping others and because of this selflessness, coupled with coaching excellence, he has been chosen as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Volunteer Coach of the Year for Rugby.

Christine Bolger, Manager of Coaching Education at the USOC, outlined the Coach of the Year Program as a means to help develop coaching and bring the positive influence that coaches have to attention.  “The goals of the USOC Coach of the Year Program are to elevate the status of coaching as a profession and to recognize coaches who prepare our athletes for performance at every level of sport.”

Waqa came to the United States from Fiji when he was 19 years old and with him he brought a great knowledge and enthusiasm for rugby.  This knowledge helped him take over the head coaching position at the BYU Women’s Rugby Club in 2004.

Over the past seven seasons the BYU Women’s Rugby Club has become a national power and in recent years have produced multiple All-Americans; Kristi Jackson, Monica Jackson, and Rebekah Siebach are just three from the 2011 team.  With such high standards set, one would think that Waqa is extremely exclusive when selecting his players.  But this is not the case at all.

BYU Down Chico St at LVI

Written by CRN Editor - Friday February 10, 2012

Cougars 15s pose after Chico St. Score 29 - 17. Photo by Nicole McCullough.

Las Vegas, NV - BYU Women's Cougars 15s took on Chico St at the Las Vegas Women's College Challenge 15s, and won 29 to 17. This has become a traditional match, between the two schools, who also played here last year. BYU won that too 53 - 6. It was a gutsy effort by the young Cougars side. The Provo women started strong, piling up 17 points - 0 before the half.

Chico State came back and out scored the Cougars in the second half 17 - 12. BYU Coach Tom Waqa was pleased with the effort, although he wanted the team to finish a lot stronger next time.

This was good exposure for some of the girls especially the ones, playing rugby for the first time. It was a good way to gauge our strengths and weaknesses and proceed towards the later part of the season.

BYU Cougars
1. Boaz 2. Christianson 3. Jackson 4. Christensen 5. Stevens 6. Torgerson 7. McCullough 8. Tafua 9. Grether 10. Peterson 11. Sue 12. Khan 13. Kenzi 14. Richardson 15. Marshall

Cougars Start 2012 at Las Vegas Invitational

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Written by Jackie Finlan - RugbyMag.com - Thursday, 09 February 2012 16:47

WCR's Keelia Harker on the move at LVI. Dobson Images.

The Las Vegas Invitational's Silver Bowl fields are a flurry with women's matches. There's a nice mix of Canadian and American teams logging their first games of the weekend, and as far as the colleges are concerned, Women's Cougar Rugby was certainly the class of the opening round.

Even just approaching the pitch, one could see the physical differences between WCR and Stony Brook University, the Cougars' opening round opponent. The majority of WCR's players were lean, strong and fast. They were well drilled and piled on 36 points over SBU.

WCR has two teams out in Vegas - one 7s, one 15s - and it's no surprise that the Provo team ran away with the win, as coach Tom Waqa has placed his veteran players on the 7s team and less experienced on the 15s squad.

"Our goal this weekend is exposure in Utah," Waqa said. "The core, starting [15s] players are on the 7s team. They're more athletic, quick and I wanted to develop their individual skills in the game of 7s."

Among the veteran group are Star Bollinger-Monson, Keelia Harker and Kristi Jackson, all of whom are familiar names to the national 7s pool. One exception to the veteran-only 7s team was Canadian-born Jordan Gray. The tall, powerful prop posed some trouble for SBU and allowed the 18-year-old to find the try zone.

"She's doing a lot of good things for us this season," Waqa said. "She normally plays No. 8 for us [in 15s], but if we can get her fit and conditioned, she could be really good."

The LVI is part of an extensive pre-season that will see the Cougars play New Mexico, Glendale Raptors and tour Canada. WCR won the Pacific Mountain East

Cougars Finish League With CSU Shutout

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Written by Jackie Finlan    Sunday, 06 November 2011 15:40

All American BYU Center Kristi Jackson in action against CSU

 

Women’s Cougar Rugby is now 4-0 in the Pacific Mountain Conference after its 41-0 win over Colorado State yesterday. The Cougars have yet to have a single point scored against them, while they’ve racked up 234 points over the course of the season.
Kristi Jackson broke the scoring silence against Colorado State.

Despite the runaway, Colorado State gave WCR its best match of the season. Conditions were wet and slippery, so either side suffered from handling errors, which also kept the score lower than average.

CSU was able to hold WCR scoreless through the first half, but then All American center Kristi Jackson got the try-scoring rolling after a clean linebreak. Jackson scored another try later in the game, while No. 8 Jordan Gray matched her try count. Wing Bex Siebach, flanker Sam Wright and prop Monica Jackson tacked on a try apiece, while outside center Shanie Rowley slotted three conversions.

The game wasn’t without its lessons for WCR. Coach Tom Waqa was impressed with Colorado State’s aggressiveness and work around the field, and saw areas of improvement for his team in comparison.

“We are happy with the win,” Waqa said. “We still have to wait for official word from our conference, but this win puts us in sound mind going into next semester and collegiate playoffs.”

League season is now over for WCR, but the team has two more friendlies against Utah State and Weber State before Thanksgiving. The squad gets moving again in early January and will return to the Las Vegas Invitational to kick off its winter season.

Sam Wright scores for BYU against CSU Saturday.

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