Penn Hills rugby program adds girls team

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Sunday, April 21, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Matt Rosemeyer has consistently worked over the past few years to develop the rugby community in Penn Hills. The Big Red rugby team has added another wrinkle this season.

Penn Hills now has a girls team for the first time. The Big Red girls will be participating in 7s, instead of the traditional 15-a-side game.

“I ran into a friend of mine who is the de facto commissioner of the girls league, and he asked if I was still coaching Penn Hills,” Rosemeyer said. “He asked, ‘How come you don’t have a girls team?’ He said he’d pencil us in.”

Rosemeyer was able to find enough players to participate and got some experienced coaching to come along as well. Destiny Weiser, who played rugby at IUP, volunteered to coach.

The Big Red girls team got its first action at the end of April at West Allegheny. Penn Hills had four matches scheduled against a variety of opponents.

“It’s an easier game to teach, and you only need half the people,” Rosemeyer said of competing in 7s.

Seniors Mackenna Carricato and Lurence Oswalt both chose to play the sport for the first time. Rosemeyer said he has the boys and girls teams work together on skills work and fitness. When the time comes to drill tackling and the more physical side of the game, the teams break apart.

“The girls have played a few scrimmages,” Rosemeyer said. “There have been a lot of positive interactions there. The girls are excited about it.”

The Big Red boys team hasn’t won a match yet this season. Getting the full team out for every match has been difficult because of injuries and scheduling conflicts.

Penn Hills has lost its three matches to Indiana County, North Pitt United and West Allegheny. The Big Red scored a season-high 14 points in the loss to West Allegheny.

“We have struggled with numbers and consistency,” Rosemeyer said. “We have a good core. We have about 26 people on the roster this year.”

Penn Hills will close its season with a home match against Central Catholic on senior night. The Indians have improved greatly since the program started a few seasons ago.

Amaree’ Freeman has served as a team captain for Penn Hills.

Senior Caleb Lohr will play rugby at Robert Morris next season.

Rosemeyer is excited to see the girls team continue to grow with the rest of the program.

“It’s a first for all of them,” Rosemeyer said. “Many of them are coming from other sports, but we have some people who this is their first foray into organization sports. We want to be able to point out some places to watch 7s rugby on the internet and explain it. The simplicity of 7s allows people to get into the sport.”

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