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Girls rugby team is Division I runner-up

Staff Report Published: June 7, 2017 12:00 AM
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The Hudson Rugby Club girls team has proven to be one of the best teams in the state in recent years.

Unfortunately for Hudson, one team has been a thorn it its side during the last few years.

That would be perennial state powerhouse Cleveland St. Joseph Academy.

Hudson is the Division I runner-up for the third time in four years after losing to St. Joseph 66-12 in the state title match June 3 at Rocky River High School.

With the loss, Hudson finished 6-5 overall and 6-2 in Division I. St. Joseph won its fifth straight state title.

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Clara Lemal-Brown had both tries for Hudson. Senior captain Amy O'Connor, a four-year letter winner, had a conversion.

"This season was definitely the most competitive year I've played at Hudson," O'Connor said. "We left everything out on the field on and I'm so excited to see the success these girls bring in the next years.

"I am so proud to be a captain on the team this year and although it wasn't the result we wanted, it was a great way to end my four years playing Hudson rugby."

Although her team has had success in recent years, Hudson head coach Brittany Wheaton wasn't sure how 2017 was going to go prior to the season.

Let's just say her team surpassed her expectations.

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"We had 12 rookies and four experienced players coming from other programs to Hudson for the first time," she said. "More than half our team was brand new to the program. We worked very hard all winter on the basics and knew when it came to game time that our strategy was a bit simpler than in the past.

"The key was for the girls to play with heart and execute the game plan and we knew we'd have a successful season."

Forwards Samira Colbert and Allison Hess were key contributors throughout the season.

"They both brought the physicality and intensity to both their offensive and defensive game," Wheaton said.

Wheaton also praised the rest of the team for their efforts.

"Our backs carried us this season," she said. "It started with senior captain Amy O'Connor, who was the glue that kept our offense together.

"Maia Breeden and Clara Lemal-Brown were key supporting players in our backline offense and defense. We also had many young, rookie players step up this season. They really carried us with their energy and work ethic."

Wheaton believes her team can continue its run among the elite in the future.

"We are extremely proud of the progress we made this year," she said. "We came a long way as a team and really grew together as a team this season.

"While we are sad the season ended the way it did, we have a great outlook for the future and we'll be back for more next year."

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