Day in the Life: Girl’s Rugby

While the majority of TPHS students are home on Monday nights cranking out homework, Falcon girls rugby is hard at work preparing for upcoming games. With practices several nights a week starting at 7 p.m., team members are busy running drills and building their endurance.

While the team is recognized under the name and mascot of TPHS, girls rugby is considered a club sport, as opposed to a school-sponsored sport. The team is composed not only of TPHS students but also players from other schools. Since they are not a school-sponsored sport, rather than going by “Torrey Pines Rugby”, the team refers to themselves as “Falcon Rugby.” Despite this,  Falcon Rugby still holds its practices and home games on the TPHS campus.

The team prepares for their long night practices, usually with drills and a variety of warmups.

“We start off with warm-ups and some fitness, such as sprints,” Zeena Al Bachachi (12), a first-year member of the Falcon Rugby team, said. “We start walking through passing and making sure we’re all communicating.”

Communication throughout the team is constantly emphasized, as the sport requires a high level of coordination between players to ensure passes and plays are run efficiently.

“Good rugby teams all have really good communication,” Al Bachachi said. “Bonding with your team is key and really essential. It’s what makes the sport better and brings us closer.”

Girls Falcon Rugby has finished second in Southern California league standings in the past five years (there was no season in 2021 due to COVID) under the Southern California Youth Rugby Organization. 

Head Coach Elijah Seay has led the team to success since 2018. Initially, Seay’s wife, Talia Carrasquillo, introduced girls rugby to TPHS with a few of her own teammates from the San Diego Surfers, after coaching the Cathedral Catholic High School team and leading them to victory. Carrasquillo has since passed it on to Seay in 2021, as he was the assistant coach at the time.

“[Over the past couple of years], we went from 15’s to 7’s,” Seay said. In this advanced play, 7’s requires fewer players per game. When a team moves onto 7’s, only seven advanced players participate, usually accelerating the skill in the game. In 15’s, a larger number of players play and games last longer.

“With 15’s, it’s very much what you would see with the boys; how they play one game and two teams.”

Not only has the girls rugby team progressed in rankings, but the advanced 7’s play requires playing multiple games per day.

“We would play a bunch of teams in one day and had three games on [any given] day,” Seay said.

Along with Head Coach Seay, Danae Cargill (12), a four-year member of the Falcon Girls Rugby team, is another key to the team’s success. Cargill has been leading the team for the past two years, as both a co-captain and head captain. Both Seay and Cargill work to keep the team in check on both a mental and a physical level.

“My role as a leader is to motivate the girls and to help anyone out if they have any questions,” Cargill said. “Really to keep all of our emotions at a wrap if not we’re winning to make sure that everyone doesn’t freak out and get chaotic.”

In addition to keeping the team’s mental perspective in check, the health of all players is a top priority for Seay.

“My role is assessing player safety,” Seay said. “I like to make sure that everyone is healthy and in good condition.”

All players are typically dressed from head to toe in safety equipment. Despite rugby being a high contact sport, the team continues to persevere through both their practices and their games, contributing to their high ranking.

As the team continues throughout their season as a regionally-recognized rugby club team, Girls Falcon Rugby’s dedication to their sport, as well as their perseverance has created a unified and successful team.

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