CPC Player Profile (April 2017): Courtney Hendrickson

Name (plus any rugby nickname(s)): Courtney Hendrickson (Corn Dog/Corny)

Hometown: Escondido, CA

Position(s) played: Center, wing, fullback

All Blues since: 2016

Studied: Wildlife Biology and Geography

The Courtney Hendrickson.  Photo credit: Vic Abrenica

The Courtney Hendrickson.  Photo credit: Vic Abrenica

     Although a relative newcomer to rugby, Courtney is not a stranger to high-level competition.  She played field hockey for Cal, where she was named NorPac West Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, registering 136 saves with a .791 save percentage that year. During her last semester at Cal, she decided to join the women’s rugby team (and “not a second too late”).  Asked how she first started playing rugby, Courtney answers that she figured that she “[liked] contact…and running with a purpose.  It just made sense.”  She learned about the All Blues through the many members of the team who visited Cal as “celebrity coaches”, listing Katie Chou, Irene Gardener, Katy Augustyn, and Lisa Dombroski as some of those who came “and imparted their knowledge on us young plebs.”

     Last winter, Courtney was invited to participate at the National All-Star Competition (NASC) in Tigertown, FL.  The NASC is one of the pathways that the USA women’s national team has to identify players that may be a good fit for its international 7s and 15s program.  The competition was eye-opening for Courtney.  She found that “people [were] REALLY good at rugby” and that she “[needed] to consume more protein and lift more.” On the first day, unsure about what position she should play, she got put in to train with the wings.  Later, however, her coach decided to put her in as a center, which became the position she played throughout her time at the camp.

     While at NASC, she was roommates with Kelly Griffin, who is on the women’s national team and is also an All Blues alum. Courtney relays her “super awkward” first encounter with Griff a couple weeks prior, at a Santa Barbara camp.  Courtney had just found out that she was paired to be roommates with Griff at NASC, when suddenly Griff walks into the room.  Courtney happened to be sitting almost right in front of the doorway.  Completely star-struck, she hurriedly got up, repeatedly trying to shove the chair away so that Griff could get by.  All the while she stumbled on her words.  Griff, confused, just asked her, “What are you doing? Just give me a hug,” to which Courtney acquiesces “ooooooookaaay.”  She ended up asking Griff for a lot of advice. Courtney thought it was “so freakin’ cool” that the veteran player never ran out of patience with her questions.

     As an All Blue, Courtney’s favorite memory thus far this D2 season was “watching our rookie, Masha Kourjanskaia score her first try.” She says that what she likes most about being on the All Blues is “being surrounded by people who genuinely want you to be your best…and who are okay with how weird I am.” And as much as the team supports her in rugby endeavors and in being her weird self, so does Courtney return the favor.  Evan Hoese, current All Blues backs coach for the D2 season, says that over the past year Courtney has been “constantly seeking new opportunities to improve, and always building up the people around her. Courtney's speed, strength and vision always make her a threat on offense and defense. However, her true strength comes from her indefatigable spirit. She always puts the team first.”

     When Courtney is not playing rugby, her favorite pastime is annoying Oya.  She also likes to raise fish and house them in fancy space-themed aquariums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Blues WPL Coach Search

The Berkeley All Blues Women’s Rugby Club is currently seeking a Head Coach for our WPL season beginning mid-August through Women’s Premier League Nationals in mid-November 2017. The ideal candidate is committed to working with elite, senior-level female athletes to build and maintain a championship-level team.

The Team

Founded in 1978, the Berkeley All Blues are one of the country’s top women’s rugby teams. The Club has won a combined total of 15 National Championships in both 15’s and 7’s rugby. The All Blues team consists of approximately 40 women dedicated to the Club and the sport of rugby. The Club welcomes athletes of all levels and current players range from elite to novice in experience. The Club currently participates in a competitive WPL season, a competitive and developmental 7s season, and a developmental D2 season. Several players regularly compete on the Women’s National Team. The emphasis of fall season is to compete at the highest level in the Women’s Premier League with the aim to secure another National Championship.

Key Responsibilities

  • Attending all home and away matches for WPL and B Side, and Nationals (mid-November; Tempe, AZ).
  • Evaluation of all members of the Team and determination of rosters for both a competitive Women’s Premiership League team (“WPL Side”) and a developmental team (“B Side”).
  • Development and refinement of game strategies for all league and non-league matches for both WPL Side and B Side teams.
  • Organization and running of all official practices for both WPL Side and B Side teams.
  • Coordination and communication with Team-selected captains for both WPL Side and B Side teams.
  • Providing effective feedback to individuals and the Team for maximal player and Team performance and development.
  • Assistance with selection and mentorship of assistant coaching staff.
  • Assistance upholding and enforcing Club policies set by the Club’s Executive Board.

Schedule

Practices are held twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in Berkeley, California. We aim to field both WPL Side and B-side squads for all matches, as numbers allow. Match schedule for the fall is not yet available. There will be approximately four away and four home matches this fall, plus the National Championship in Tempe, AZ.

Qualifications and Additional Information

Previous playing and coaching experience is required; specific experience coaching women is preferred but not necessary. Compensation is negotiable and commensurate with experience. This is not a full-time position. Unfortunately, the Club is unable to provide visa assistance. Travel expenses to away matches will be paid by the Club.

To Apply

Please submit a coaching resume as well as a brief statement of coaching philosophy to allbluespresident@gmail.com. It is strongly encouraged to apply by Friday, April 7th 2017 as applications will be considered on a rolling basis. For additional information about the Berkeley All Blues, please explore our website.

Two All Blues Chosen to Represent Team USA on the International Stage

Congratulations to Katy “Kit Kat” Augustyn and Bulou Mataitoga for their selections and recent performances on the pitch! 

Seasoned rugby veteran Kit Kat was on tour to France this past November with the USA Women’s Eagles.  She came on the heels of the domestic Women’s Premier League competition, where eleven other players also helped their respective teams compete, before heading to France.  Two test matches were scheduled against France, 10 months ahead of the exciting Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 event in Ireland.

Kit Kat pictured with her 2 jersey, between fellow front rowers Hope Rogers (3) and Sarah Chobot (1). Photo credit: Facebook

Kit Kat pictured with her 2 jersey, between fellow front rowers Hope Rogers (3) and Sarah Chobot (1).

Photo credit: Facebook

Bulou recently got her first 7s cap competing in the first leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Dubai.  It was also during the Dubai 7s where she scored her first career try for the Women’s Eagles in the game against Brazil (check out the video here: http://bit.ly/2iEGCuq).  We hope to see more of her at the next series stop in Sydney in February 2017!

Bulou's first try for the Eagles at Dubai 7s.  Photo credit: Michael Lee / KLC fotos  

 

Player Profile: Frieda Fetuu

Name (rugby nickname): Frieda Fetuu ("Free")

Hometown: San Bruno, CA / Riverton, UT raised back and forth.
Position(s) played: Lock, Flank, Eight, Centre……Wing (in my dreams)

All Blues since: 2014

Classic Frieda.  Photo credit: Vic Abrenica

 

How did you find out about us (i.e. what/who got you to come to your first AB practice?)

My family ran the Sacramento Amazons (Uncle Fesi Green and Aunt Leka Green). When I went out there to train with them for a summer, we went to a tournament in Reno- that was my first encounter with the All Blues. Everyone would always talk about how tough and strong the All Blues played, but in my young mind I was thinking, “Oh yeah?, well bring it on then!”. That was the day they broke my legs…. haha just kidding, anyways, they played incredibly well and disciplined; with much HEART! Even though they whooped my little ass, I fell in love with the way they played--much passion and sisterhood--it reminded me of the way my own family played with each other.

I didn’t much think to play with the All Blues until I met Irene Gardner in Cancun, Mexico. We played Tiger sevens together and I had a chance to get a good chat in with her. I told her I used to live in the bay with my pops and she told me to go try the All Blues out. So I emailed the All Blues and made my move back to the Bay.

 

How did you first start playing rugby?  What got you into it?

I grew up with rugby watching all my uncles and aunties play. In my high school years I had no clue Utah had a girls team until a close friend of mine, Daniela Pernia, dragged me to practice. That’s where I met my rugby parents Olive Ahotaeiloa and David Shelledy. They got me in the mix and made me the player I am today as well as my Amazon Fam.


Do you have a philosophy/mindset when you practice and play rugby?  How do you get into “the zone”?

My philosophy is very simple:

1. Don’t worry about how the other team will do, worry about our own game.

2. Slap on some good music and get ya groove on to shake the jitters off.

3. Say "wassup" to all my sisters I’m 'bouta go to war with and get a couple laughs in before warm ups. Make sure everybody's cool and ready.

4. Think of my 2 little babies. Melrose and Amaiah.

 

Right before the game:

Calm all the nerves in my body, take a good look at my sisters and let em know, “I got you regardless of what happens in this game”, and the most important part: Hug each and everyone of my sisters to spread the love. (Haha I KNOW, it’s corny.)

Photo credit: Facebook

Photo credit: Facebook

 

What is your best memory, thus far, as an All Blue?  What do you like most about being on this team?

That I remember?? ummmm, let’s see…. haha j/k

I loved every moment being an All Blue, but I would have to say my favorite moment is our win in Nationals against D.C. Furies. We had a TOUGH season, but we pushed through it TOGETHER. In the end it paid off with a win. That was also Phoebe’s last game so it meant more than just a win to us all.

 

Is there a particular player and/or coach that have influenced your development as a player?  In what way(s) did they help you?

Numerous people have made me the player I am today. There’s no particular person because I appreciate everything everyone has ever done for me to make me the player I am today. Whether it be big or small, each of them made an impact.

 

What is the best advice you have ever received about playing rugby?

Enjoy the game and ALWAYS stay humble.

Katy "Kit Kat" Augustyn and Frieda Fetuu posing with their #toughsisterbuns. Photo credit: Vic Abrenica

Katy "Kit Kat" Augustyn and Frieda Fetuu posing with their #toughsisterbuns. Photo credit: Vic Abrenica

Favorite pump-up song(s)?

Bay Area Hyphy Music, RnB, Whitney Houston, Eagles and of course the All Blues theme song 2016 TOE TAGS AND BODY BAGS! …and a bit of KPOP.

 

What is your favorite non-rugby activity?

Hiking, Biking, Fitness…… hahaha PSYKE! Chilling with family and Jam sessions.

 

When are you releasing your latest album?  Where can we get a copy?

This Christmas. ‘Bouta be straight FIIIRE! Find it at your local laundromats near you. Get it for only two 40 Oz O.E.’s and a number 5 from Jack in the Box.

Frieda drops a mix tape at 7s Nationals earlier this year. Photo credit: Sarah Davis

Frieda drops a mix tape at 7s Nationals earlier this year. Photo credit: Sarah Davis

 

Who’s your favorite rugby player/team to watch?

Finau Maka and of course TONGA!

 

Do you have any advice on how to be social when playing other teams?  You’re so good at this! 

Just be yourself and if they don’t like it stiff arm them in the eyeballs. Haha JK, but for real just be yourself and enjoy the company around you. Crack a couple jokes.

 

Alumna Profile: Kelly Griffin

Name (plus any rugby nickname(s)):  Kelly “Griff” Griffin

Hometown:  Berkeley, CA
Position(s) played:  all

When did you play for the All Blues?  2008-2011

When did you start playing for the Eagles?  First WNT camp in 2009.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Griffin

Griff started playing rugby in 2004, during her first year at UCLA.  Having played basketball and soccer in high school, she wanted to continue being an athlete and being part of a team. She “immediately loved the sport and the people.”  After college, she moved back home and decided to play for the All Blues, knowing it was “the best team in the country at that time.”  She was very excited to play with “so many amazing ruggers,” one of whom was Blair Pasut, a college classmate.  Griff called her up and asked when practice was and joined the team. As an All Blue, one of her memorable moments was doing the skits and songs during her rookie year.  According to her, one of the best was a rugby remake of “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. (Editor’s note: Thanks to Katie Chou's excellent record keeping, we can share the lyrics with you. It's at the end of this article.)

Griff came to play for the Eagles through hard work and making her presence known.  “I did lots of extra workouts and skill sessions and kept showing up to camps and tryouts,” writes Griff.  She attended her first women’s national team camp in 2009, when it was also announced that 7s rugby would be included in the 2016 Olympic games. In 2012 she, along with seven others, became the first residents at the Olympic Training Center at Chula Vista (fellow All Blues Vix Folayan and Nathalie Marchino would join them a year later).  While training there, Griff helped her team earn bronze at the 2013 IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens, and silver at the Pan American games in 2015.  She also captained the Eagles to a fifth-place finish at the 2016 Olympics, which included a draw with defending World Rugby Women's Sevens Series Champion Australia, and a very exciting, close game against New Zealand.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Griffin

Asked about how her life is like outside of training, Griff says she is “currently trying to figure out a new life-rugby-work balance.”  Since she is no longer in fulltime residency at the OTC, she’s trying to find a “flexible job that will allow [her] to continue to train, support [her] family and be a start to a career.”  She’s pretty excited about the World Series that’s starting up again in December.  She recommends watching the whole series “because all the tournaments are exciting!”

  

Get to know Griff some more!

ABM: What is the best advice you have ever received about playing rugby?

KG: Run away from the fullback after a linebreak.

 

ABM: By which Olympic player were you most starstruck by in Rio?

KG: Tamika Catchings

 

ABM: What is your favorite non-rugby activity?

KG: Baking

 

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From the All Blues Caroling Book, from Griff’s rookie year

(Courtesy Katie Chou)

To the tune of “A Whole New World”:

 

I can show you to scrum

Crouch, touch, pause and engage

Tell me, All Blues, now when did

You last do your squats for glut strength?

 

I can open your eyes

Give you excellent field vision

Overs, unders and inserts

In a magic fluid game

 

A whole new game

A new fantastic way to play

No one to stop us here

Or anywhere

Or say we're not the champs

 

A whole new game

And dazzling plays we never knew

And when we communicate

And come up straight,

We connect to commit to defense here with you

Now we're playing defense here with you

 

Unbelievable runs

Indescribable tackles

Scrumming, rucking, and mauling

In a fast pace moving game

 

(Backs) A whole new game

(Forwards) Don't you dare knock it on

(Backs) A hundred thousand plays to run

(Forwards) Don't you dare knock it on

(Backs) I'm like a shooting dart

(Forwards) I've run so far and can't make it back to where I'm supposed to be

 

A whole new game

A new fantastic way to play

No one to stop us here

Or anywhere

Or say we're not the champs

A whole new game

And dazzling plays we never knew

And when we communicate

And come up straight,

 

And let us share this whole new game with you…