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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.

BYU Dominates West Women College

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Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 22 October 2011 15:32

Sam Wright lineout take against Air Force 2011

Women’s Cougar Rugby of BYU rang up their third straight massive shutout, and their second in less than 24 hours as they pummeled Air Force 65-0 Saturday in Colorado Springs.

WCR beat Colorado 54-0 on Friday evening.

This is their third league win after joining the Eastern Rockies DI league in the West RFU (BYU has previously been part of the Pacific Coast), and they have yet to give up a point.

“Overall we played well on defense but we haven’t been tested much,” said Cougars Head Coach Tom Waqa. “We controlled the game and had a majority of the possession and territory. We have a whole bunch of talented girls, and the incoming freshmen have been picking things up really quick. I am very happy with that.”

Waqa said the games have not been pushovers, but the scores tell a different story, and the Cougar coach said he will definitely be looking for opponents who can put his team under pressure.

“Last year our toughest game was against Army,” he said. “We need to have those types of games earlier in the season.”

Still the BYU Cougars showed they can win two league games in two days, and are dominating their league.

In other league action, Colorado State defeated New Mexico 26-15. Club president Laura Whitney said the Rams did well to use their backs more than they have in past matches.

“We had a lot of injuries after the game with Air Force,” Whitney said. “We lost both our starting flankers. But we came together and just dealt with it and showed good organization.”

CSU improves to 2-1.

The latest league standings are:

West-North Women

W

L

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Pf

Pa

BYU Women Cougars Shut Out CU

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Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 22 October 2011 00:34

BYU Women's Rugby Tour - Colorado 2011

The Women's Cougar Rugby program started their two-match weekend trip to Colorado with a 54-0 shutout of Colorado in Boulder on Friday.

The BYU students have moved to the Eastern Rockies DI competition, and looked plenty strong in their first road league match of the season.

"We started a little slow," said Head Coach Tom Waqa. "It took some time to find our rhythm and settle in the beginning, and then we worked our way into the game. We really need work on being consistent day-in, day-out. I’ve challenged our leaders to lead from up front, and get us some good platform."

This they did as the game wore on, but Colorado had the Cougars on the back foot early and almost scored.

"They have some tough girls in the pack,"  said Waqa. "I’m glad our defense came through."

The Women Cougars were led by captain and flanker Samantha Wright and No. 8 Jordan Gray, who each scored three tries.

Next up is Air Force, as the Cougars hope to make it 3-0 in league competition (they beat New Mexico 75-0 October 8).

"We need to improve our overall performance against Air Force," said Waqa. "The girls are good at adjusting when we play doubleheaders like this; hopefully we continue to do that tomorrow. We played on a turf field for the first time, I’m just glad we came out without any major injuries."

Women’s rugby dominates University of New Mexico

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OCT 09, 2010 - By Steven Tew - universe.byu.edu

After coming off an 80-3 win last week over Utah State, the BYU women’s rugby team looked for a defensive challenge against the University of New Mexico but did not find it.

The Cougars pummeled their opponents this past weekend, 75-0, in their first home game of the season.

“I will take 75-0 anytime,” head coach Tom Waqa said. “Even though that was the score, we still need to work on many aspects in the basics area.”

Shanie Rowly on the move for the Cougars - Photo by Chris Bunker

The BYU women’s rugby team defeats New Mexico on Saturday at Fort Utah Park.

Players on the team agreed that although New Mexico did not provide much of a challenge, the Cougars still need to improve their game if heading to the Sweet 16 is still in their future. One such aspect of their game was the ruck.

Rucking consists of several players coming to the aid of a tackled player so she can pass it off and continue on down the field.

“That is always something we can work on to make cleaner,” said Chelsie Hill, a second-year player from Kennewick, Wash. “We still need to work on our rucks. It’s still hard to get the ball out.”

Getting the ball out from the ruck created opportunities for the Cougars to move the ball across the field to score again and again.

Senior Ela Wolfgramm said teamwork and moving the ball paid off the most in BYU’s victory against UNM.

“A lot of the plays were hands all the way out; we were passing around,” Wolfgramm said. “Because of our teamwork there was more intensity in this game than the other games.”

USA Rugby Announces 2011 College Academic Honor Roll

Sisters Monica & Kristi Jackson on USA Collegiate Academic Honor Roll 2011

July 1, 2011 - USARUGBY.ORG

BOULDER, Colo. — Sixty-five student-athletes from 30 schools have been named to the first USA Rugby College Academic Honor Roll.

The Honor Roll is a new initiative by USA Rugby’s College Department to recognize rugby student-athletes who excel in the classroom. To be eligible for recognition a student-athlete must by an A-side player with a 3.70 cumulative GPA and be a junior, senior or 5th year senior academically in at least their second season of competition at their current school.

Student-athletes were nominated by their head coach or team president and had to agree to submit a current transcript in order to be considered for the list. All nominees who met the criteria were named to the list.

2011 USA Rugby Men’s College Academic Honor Roll

USA RUGBY ANNOUNCES 2011 WOMEN'S COLLEGIATE ALL-AMERICANS

US Collegiate All Americans Tour 2011 - Katie O'Malley, Kristi Jackson, Kay Onyekwere, Kara Longhurst Remington and Rebekah Siebach

July 14, 2011 - AUTHOR: USARUGBY.ORG

BOULDER, COLORADO - USA Rugby is proud to announce the 2011 Women's Collegiate All-Americans.  These student-athletes are recognized as the best collegiate women's rugby players in the country.  There are two lists of All-Americans, Division I and Division II. The Touring Squad will be named later this month and will compete in the Can-Am Games from July 28-31 in upstate New York.

The selection process to the Women's Collegiate All-Americans was a robust and collaborative effort.  Selectors included Martha Daines (Women's Collegiate All-Americans Head Coach) as well as coaches from the age-grade to senior national team ranks.

Pete Steinberg (Women's National Team Head Coach), Ric Suggitt (Women's Sevens Team Head Coach), Bryn Chivers (Women's Under-20s Head Coach) and Alex Williams (Women's High Performance Director) contributed to the selections.

The list of Division I All-Americans includes 34 student-athletes from 17 different universities and colleges across the country.  The 34 athletes on the DI list and 28 representatives on the DII list were selected from a pool of nearly 12,000 women’s collegiate rugby players.

Selectors used the fall and spring seasons to construct their player pools for All-American selection.  The National All-Star Championship at Founders Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., last month and the DI and DII National Championships served as opportunities for selectors to refine the pool to the top players in each division.

In addition to having the honor of being named an All-American, many of these student-athletes have earned invitations to a variety of national team assemblies:

Army Holds Off BYU for Trip to Women's Final

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Written by Pat Clifton Friday, 13 May 2011 16:08
Kristi Jackson charges down the line for BYU against Army. Dobson Images.

A huge second half effort almost lifted Cougar women’s rugby over Army, but the women of West Point proved just fit enough to hold them off, winning Friday’s DI women’s college semifinal 29-20 at Stanford.

The Cougars jumped out to an early lead with a try from Tressa Tenney, but Army ticked of the next 12-straight points with a try and conversion from flanker Anne Lee and a try from fullback Jess Sexauer. Rebekah Siebach then scored the Provo women’s second try, but it too went unconverted.

Kayla Orvik re-extended Army’s lead with a converted try just before intermission, giving the Cadets a 19-10 advantage at halftime.

The Cougars had all the motivation coming out of the break, putting relentless pressure on Army, and Siebach scored her second try of the game to pull the Cougars within a single strike at 19-15.

The Cougars went directly back on the offensive. Multiple impressive mauls ended inches short of pay dirt and numerous phases added to an obvious overload out wide. Minutes of Cougar work had let to this overload, but it was thwarted by a heroic tackle from Sexauer, who closed the gap between her and the ball carrier swiftly and delivered a crushing blow.

“When there’s barely anytime left in the game and a tackle’s on the line, you just have so much more motivation to get over there,” said an exhausted Sexauer. “I was hurting at halftime, I’m not going to lie. I was tired, but when you know the game’s over when you miss that tackle, you’re not going to miss it. She actually knocked me pretty good. I felt a little woozy and the trainer wanted to take me out, but if the game’s on the line you’ve got to play.”

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