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Olympic Camp - January 2015

Last week, marked the first official sevens training camp of 2015 for both US teams at the Olympic Training Center (OTC).  Twelve women and ten men joined current residents to experience world class coaching, intense conditioning drills and games, and classroom/video sessions.

Alex Magelby, the USA Rugby Sevens Director, stressed the importance of these camps to the development of our Olympic and domestic program.  He said, “It is vital that we give the top athletes throughout the country opportunities to compete for spots with the residency program athletes. Increasing the competition for spots brings out the best in our athletes and coaches. “

He added, “Athletes who return to their clubs/academies become evangelists on what is happening at the 7s international game, based on their experiences at the HP 7s camps. So there is knock on effect to other athletes and coaches in the club game. “

Billy Nichols, who coaches the Lindenwood University Women, Atlantis U-19 Women, and Old Blue Women, was out to observe the women’s camp all week.  “I came here to gain professional development and learn more about the game in the ultimate high performance environment.  The sessions were very high paced with clearly articulated directions and goals set forth by the coaching staff to the players.  The work rate was tremendous.  I have several take a ways from this motivating experience to share with my players in the university, All-Star, and club settings.

Megan Bonny, who has been in residency since 2013, was very excited about the camp and the roster of athletes attending.  “We’ve had several camps since I arrived.    There have been a lot of girls with great potential and speed.”

There has been a noticeable difference in the athleticism of the campers over the past 12 months.  Magelby noted that both the women and men coaching staffs have created higher physical standards and skill expectations and athletes have worked hard to chase down those higher standards.  “We have seen improvements in endurance, speed, and strength scores in that time from both the residency and remote athletes “  

Chris Ryan, coach of the Schuylkill River Exiles, Princeton Women, and Atlantis Men attended all week to watch the men’s showcase of talent.  He commented. “Coach Friday is very impressive in his calm effect and delivery.  And the athleticism is 200 percent better than it was four years ago. “ 

Stephen Lewis, Director of Rugby and coach of Old Blue Men, coach of the Northeast ODA and Army Women 7s was also on hand to applaud the noticeable improvement in the camp since October.  “With a non-negotiable emphasis on fitness and core skills, the new coaching tandem of Friday and Brown have laid the foundation for success and hopefully the boys can kick on from their Plate win in Port Elizabeth.”

There are four women’s and three men’s HP camps scheduled at the OTC over the next five months.  The pathway to getting invited to these camps and ultimately to residency at the OTC has become more clearly defined and pretty simple.  “Athletes play their way into rep level (RASTs, JAA / CAA trial camps, NDAs, Elite City 7s, etc.). by dominating at the level below (club). There are chances an athlete is overlooked by the scouting network for whatever reason, so that athlete has an opportunity for supplemental identification opportunities with the Serevi USA Rugby Camps, the Eagle Impact clinics (EIRA), or by working with one of the growing number of Olympic Development Academies. And of course, athletes can always advocate (or their coach do so) via an online nomination form and video share:,” explained Magelby. 

There are also a series of combines throughout the country for additional identification opportunities, like the National Team Recruitment Camp held this past January at the OTC.

Women's Camp Attendees:

Irene Gardner 

Natalie Kosko 

Ariana Lewis 

Cheta Emba 

Nia Toliver 

Richelle Stephens 

Margaret Myles 

Aniebiet Abasi  

Phaidra Knight  

Emily Azevedo 

Anna Symonds

Ryan Carlyle  

Men's Camp Attendees: 

Nate Brakeley 

Colton Cariaga 

Glen Thommes 

Walter Elder 

Martin Iosefo  

Aladdin Schirmer  

Jack Tracy 

Zach Pangelinan

Matai Leuta 

Ahmad Harajly