WILMINGTON, NC –
Armed Forces Sports (AFS) wrapped up its first ever Women’s Rugby Championship June 7 in Wilmington North Carolina. The historic event was capped by an awards ceremony that saw Army take the gold going undefeated in the tournament, followed closely by the Marines who earned silver with three wins and one loss.
For first-ranked Army, the experience left the team exuberant, but also cognizant of the work involved getting to this point.
“It’s great, especially since this is our first-ever women’s rugby competition with Armed Forces Sports,” said Sarah Galon, All-Army Sports service representative. “The coach had set out what she expects of the team when she selected the members back in May, so that included their conditioning, what she wanted them to be doing on the field, and then for the past week we’ve been at Fort Bragg doing two-a-days, yoga class, aqua-spin class, and just taking advantage of everything their MWR has to offer.”
The three-day tournament was hard fought among all five service branches, with final standings for the other participants in the championship being Air Force ranked third with two wins, two losses; followed by Navy with one win and three losses; and Coast Guard closing out with zero wins and four losses.
Their spirits not dampened by the standings, the Coast Guard team members understood their presence in the games was doubly historic – being players in the first AFS Women’s Rugby Games and as the first independent Coast Guard team for the sport, having previously been grouped with the Navy.
“It was really incredible, there were a lot of really talented women,” said Coast Guard Ensign Linda Drake of USCGC Isaac Mayo (WPC-1112) of playing in the championship. “I was really thankful for that experience.”
Drake will join six other players from the AFS Women’s Rugby Championship on the All-Tournament Women’s Rugby Team. Other team members include Air Force Staff Sgt. Katherine Dyke, Army Capt. Lauran Glover, Army 1st Lt. Kasey McCravey, Army 2nd Lt. Kayla Williams, Navy Lt. Tia Blythe, and Marine Capt. Kate Herren. In addition to playing for their respective service rugby teams, McCravey and Herren had also been training with the U.S. Eagles Rugby Team to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
Armed Forces Sports All-Service teams provide service members opportunities to participate in national and international competitions including the Military World Games and the Olympics. Service members can advance to the All-Service level sports by competing in unit level intramurals through their branch’s sports and fitness program.