Women’s Rugby: Humboldt’s Rising Stars

 HSU Women’s rugby players, Annie Fehrenbach, Heather Snyder and Caitlin Prauss, execute a tough play.

HSU’s women’s rugby team is rolling over their opponents this season. In spite of 10 of the 15 starter players being rookies, the women have won the last four games and so far this season scored a total of 195 points while allowing their opponents just 110.

Yesterday, the team flattened Sacramento State 29-19 putting the HSU women in second place within their division. Their coach, Evi Ashenbrucker, graduated from South Fork High School here in Humboldt County in 2008 where she was known for her basketball prowess.

When Ashenbrucker walked by the rugby team practicing on her way to basketball tryouts her freshman year at UC San Diego, she became almost instantly hooked on the sport. “It looked like nothing I had ever seen before,” she said.  That first year, she started a path that led to her becoming an All-American, playing for an Italian premiership team as well as a US premier team, and now onto coaching rugby for HSU women.

“I think even more than winning games, the best part of coaching is the moment you get to watch those “lightbulb” moments, when a player figures something out and is able to successfully execute it,” Ashenbrucker explained, “their self-esteem seems to develop into a tangible thing right before your eyes.”


Team photo taken at Saturday’s game.

Rugby is a little like football without the padding but there are some crucial differences including the ball can’t be passed forward but only side to side or backwards. Also each goal is worth 5 points and a field goal is worth two.

“We have a lot of raw talent and athleticism,” Ashenbrucker said about this year’s team. “The girls have been working incredibly hard and their efforts are paying off.”

“Hopefully some of you can make it out to watch our next home game, Saturday, March 15th, at College Creek field on the HSU campus,” Ashenbrucker added. “Kickoff at 11 a.m. vs. Reno. We would appreciate any support.”


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