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Prop Cynthia Gherke

There was a time when the U-23 division represented an opportunity for younger women and men to gain experience in a possible move up to the Eagles. The objective then was to give aspiring rugby players international matches to showcase their young talent.

In 1999, current Penn State Coach Peter Steinberg took an all-star U-23 Women’s team on a four match tour of England.

The squad went 4-0, demolishing the opposition, and scoring 119 points to but 15 points against. They defeated Cambridge University 42-0, England Students 24-7, the Army 30-0, and finally, Emerging England, a team with many players ready to move up to the Red Roses first team.

The USA’s high scorer was the fleet Milca Fils Aime who tallied five tries for 25-points. Kicker Megan Brown scored 19 points on five conversions and three penalties. Four players scored two tries: Hedwig Aerts, Megan Himan, Carolyn Magill, and Claudia Morales.

High praise for USA #8, Jen Sikora, came from the England coach, Dave Palethopre, who said, “…she was outstanding, by far the best player on the pitch (with) a superb work rate.”

The U-23 squad began the tour by winning two matches in the National All Star Championship held in Tampa. A six win, zero loss proved an excellent result.