Rising sophomore, Alena Olsen, along with another Michigan player (Meg Melton) travelled to the invitational National All-Star Rugby Camp in Greeley, NC. From there, Alena was asked to be part of the Collegiate All-American team for the upcoming Elite 7s tournament. We caught up with Alena and hear about her awesome experience.
On the Camp:
“I didn’t know what to expect of the competition…there were nearly one hundred girls that were attending the camp. It was a completely different environment than I’m used to [as] a lot of the girls played in varsity programs or were in development academies, but both Megan and I were both going purely for the experience. The days were eat, play, eat, play, meeting,sleep,etc. It was frustrating sometimes though seeing the kinds of incredible players that you were surrounded by, and knowing that you still have such a long ways to go to be there.”
On being invited to the Elite 7s team:
“I showed up to Philly the Tuesday before the tournament and met the team. Brandon [Michigan Men’s Rugby Coach] was really good at calming my nerves down and the girls were all such incredible players that they could make you look good no matter what; I looked up to all of them.“
On the tournament:
“The scariest part was speed of play: think fast, move fast. I feel like I was able to learn a lot by looking at the strengths in every player and watching how they use it. Playing in such a high performance environment will increase your level of play dramatically. I feel like I've gotten immensely better as a player... but probably more importantly I know where I want to be, or have to be, or what to work on to really be competitive in this next level of playing.”
On winning the championship:
“Winning the championship was amazing of course. We got to meet the Harlequins and Eagle, Phil Thiel, and got this giant trophy. But they're right when they say the process is so much more rewarding.”
Can’t wait to see what Alena and Meg bring back this season to the team to help us all improve our game! GO BLUE!