By Shea Maminski, Staff Writer
KU graduates Sharyn Beodeker and Faith Hughes were chosen out of the top players in the country to attend a collegiate All-American rugby camp this summer in Colorado.
Although Hughes and Beodeker’s collegiate rugby careers as players at KU have come to an end, they are hoping to
continue their careers on the national level.
Beodeker and Hughes graduated from KU in spring 2015. Both women were selected as the Women’s Collegiate All-Americans for the 2014-15 season and competed in the National All-Star Competition in Greely, Co in August.
According the USA Rugby website, the NASC is an elite environment for players to grow and compete at the international level.
Players who compete in this competition are put up for selection for Winter NASC and have the opportunity to be scouted for the national team, the 2016 Rio Olympics and other events.
Beodeker said, “Being able to go to the All-American camps is always an incredible experience. It makes you proud, but it also makes you humble.”
During the competition, players were assigned to a level of play and positioned on equal teams in order to be evaluated on their performance.
“It forces you to play at your best but also allows you to really focus on your skills,” Beodeker said.
Hughes said, “My experience was amazing. I was able to form a strong bond with the team I was placed on, as well as challenge myself to play at a level that I never have in a position that I’ve never played in.”
At KU, Hughes played as a lock and 8-man whereas at the NASC she played tight head prop; Beodeker played scrum half at both KU and NASC.
The NASC gives players the opportunity to perform at more of an elite level than just seen through colleges and clubs.
The speed of play is very quick and every athlete is expected to learn a system and a set of plays and to perform at the best of their ability.
Beodeker said, “It’s no longer about coming to a camp and doing your best, it’s about competing and going beyond what you thought was expected of you; rising to the occasion to be the greatest you can be and really challenging yourself.”
This semester Beodeker became the backs coach for KU Women’s Rugby Football Club and Hughes is in the works of becoming the forward’s coach.
The women both held leadership positions on the field while playing for KU and that experience has influenced them as coaches.
Both women have high hopes of continuing their rugby career.
Hughes is currently playing for Doylestown Women’s Rugby Club and is unsure about pursing a higher level of play.
“There is another NASC in January that I may get invited to. Once I figure out if I’m invited, I’ll have a clear picture of what I want,” Hughes said.
Beodeker’s goal is to play for the national team and hopes to continue to be invited to further competitions.
“I want to be the best scrum half in the nation,” Beodeker said.
She is currently looking into graduate school and has hopes to find a DI women’s club team to play with and to continue to keep up with an intense level of play with good athletes and tough competition.
Many rookies on the KU women’s team have said that Beodeker has been an essential part of their learning process.
And, after watching game film filled with rocking tackles from Hughes, they admit that they can’t wait for her to join the coaching staff as well.
The new coaching staff has now assisted in leading KU Women’s Rugby Football Club to a 1-0 season so far.