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  • Writer's pictureUMWRFC PR Chair

Alumni Feature: December

Happy Holidays! As we all gear up for the holiday season, let's take a moment to learn about another one of our awesome alumnae. This month's featured alumna is Denise Cherba, affectionately known as Cherbs!

Graduation Year: 2014

Years playing rugby: Nearly 7 years

Position: Fullback, Center, Flyhalf and most recently, Flanker (Woah!!)

Where she is now...

Houston, Texas-- I work a 2 week on/2 week off rotation on drilling ships in the Gulf of Mexico, so half my year is spent offshore on an industrial island. The food is pretty bad and amenities are basic (not the pumpkin spice latte basic), but the gym and people tend to make up for it all - you start to become a family out here. On my time off, I try to make as many rugby practices/games as possible. Then there are other activities like local friends, pool lounging, CrossFit, yoga and traveling to see my old UM mates and family.

Her favorite rugby moments...

This is a tough one as I have many fond memories. I always enjoyed watching my fellow forwards maul during games - they were indestructible. In 2012, we were competing in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen National Championship; the clock ran out, we were down by 2 points against Brown and the sir called a penalty in our favor at the 50 meter mark. Our forward pack somehow found a collective, inner-strength to maul the ball an ENTIRE 50 meters to the try-zone after a grueling 80 minutes. The try was held-up and we lost, but the determination in those last moments is just as inspiring to me today as it was then.

Her advice for current ruggers...

Right now: Take care of your body. Spend time stretching and working on flexibility. Build muscle and keep your joint ligaments strong. Constantly drink water and eat vegetables. Also realize that there is "tough" and there is "stupid." Trying to play on a concussion is not tough; it is stupid. Know your boundaries and stick to them. I hate seeing players walk away from the game with lifelong injuries and mobility problems.

For the future: Be coach-able, keep an open mind and try not to let frustration drag you down. Once you leave UM and find another team, it is not going to be the same. Change is good. It forces you to adapt and grow. I dealt with all of this when I moved to Texas. Staying positive is key.

Her rugby experiences after leaving Michigan...

I have been playing with Houston Athletic Rugby Club since my move. The women here are truly focused on continual improvement; I think that is the best you can ask for when searching for a team. It also shows for itself. We had an undefeated league season and went to playoffs in San Francisco earlier this year. Finishing Top 8 in D1 is something to be proud of, and we are aiming higher this year.

Further musings about UMWRFC...

I am extremely proud of the UMWRFC that exists today and always look forward to what will be achieved tomorrow. Y'all have an alumni base with A LOT of pride, and we enjoy seeing the same pride in current players. Keep pushing forward, especially when things get tough...this is what defines a champion.

#afeat #alumni #cherba #december

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