Rugby: not just for boys


Morgan Hykin

Senior Gracie Berrett plays rugby for Plano Rugby Club, a primarily male dominated sport.

Izzy Valenzuela, Staff Reporter

Rugby is often known as a rough boys sport that is extremely difficult and dangerous, but one senior girl is determined to change that as senior Gracie Berrett plays on an all girls team for Plano Rugby Club.

“I just found out about the rugby team last year so I just started officially on a team this year,” Berrett said. “It was awesome and I played as starter at wing and moved my way up to center. My uncle lived in Utah and Hawaii so when he moved to Texas he taught me the very basics and he’d get a bunch of youth in my church and we would all play pick-up games at Celebration.”

But with rugby not a commonly played sport in the area, practice locations are sparse and as the only girls rugby team in the area there are difficulties finding competition in the area.

“We practice in really any available spot in Plano for practice,” Berrett said.” One week we will be at PESH (Plano East Senior High School) and the other in High Point. Most of our tournaments are really far though because to be honest, there aren’t very many women’s rugby teams so we would play teams in San Antonio, Houston, and our final state game was here in Dallas.”

Although rugby is far from a popular sport on campus, the number of adolescents playing in the region is growing.

“The Plano Youth Rugby Club was established in 2000 under the auspices of PSA, originally catering to boys in grades 11 and 12, in order to compete in the Texas High Schools rugby league,” club president Nick Marketos said. “In 2005, we expanded the PSA program to start at age nine and up and fielded teams in these younger age groups. We take players from all areas, and in 2011 we expanded the program further to include ages seven and eight.  At the younger age groups, girls up to age 12 play on boys teams. We also field a girls team, ages 13 to 18 to compete in the Texas Girls High School rugby league.”

Her team has been successful throughout all of this season.

“We were doing really well,” Berrett said. “We were on a 15 game winning streak and were predicted to win the state title, but got second behind HEB. They are a really big, strong team and it was a really close game. However, it was still an extremely hard loss.”

Gracie Berrett’s friends love watching her play, despite the possibility of injury.

“It was so much fun watching Gracie play. Gracie is known for her sweet and kind demeanor at school but on the field she is very aggressive and skillful,” senior Morgan Hykin said. “When playing any sport there is always a chance of injury, when playing you are taking that risk of injury and honestly the risk factor makes the game more intense and exciting.”