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This weekend the Washington U19 girls all-stars host the Oregon U19 girls and the Oregon U17s in the Great Northwest Challenge, an all-star event of varied makeup that was first played in 2003.
Rugby Oregon has continued to have a vibrant all-star program, playing their U19 selects under coach Ernie Espinoza during the fall against college opposition. Washington, meanwhile, has struggled to find a long-term coach, and Boys all-star coaches Pete Sullivan and Marc Sullivan (not related) have stepped in to run the team until a more long-term solution can be found.
This past weekend, Rugby Oregon's U19s played the Rugby Oregon Alumni in a warmup match that has been named the first annual Jenn Heinrich Cup. Jenn Heinrich was the first ever paid state-based rugby organization (SBRO) administrator.
Heinrich is well-known to be a smart and dedicated worker, and was often a brave buffer between abrasive personalities in the game. This all served well to establish Rugby Oregon as one of the model SBROs.
Well-known by many in the game for her hard work and her devotion to the game (despite not being a rugby person when she signed on), Heinrich was recognized by Espinoza with the naming of the trophy because players should know who she is, too.
"Jenn has done so much for the girls league in Oregon," said Espinoza. "But
administrators work in the shadows. Many of our girls hadn't heard of her.
The easy explanation is, if it weren't for Jenn, a lot of this would not
Heinrich was on hand to see the Oregon U19s start the stronger of the teams on Saturday, but then the older Alumni pulled away late. A final 20 minutes pitted the U17s against the Alumni, with the Alumni prevailing.
Of interest was USA U20 player Hannah Lockwood not only playing against her
old select side, but against some players she coaches with
This weekend Oregon plays Washington in Lacey, Wash. Meanwhile, Northern California and Southern California will face off, and later in July the Californian teams will travel to Oregon for another clash.
(We attempted to ascertain who leads the Washington v. Oregon series. We're not sure of the exact count, but we believe Washington has a slim lead thanks to a winning streak in the earlier years. In the last four years, Oregon has had the upper hand, winning three of four.)