Full Name: Tonya Wessman
Hometown: Brentwood, CA
Position(s) played: Flanker, Hooker, Outside Center
All Blues since: 2018
When and how did you first start playing rugby? What got you into it?
Tonya: I was introduced to rugby in 2015, my Junior year at UC Davis (GO AGS). I transferred into Davis knowing I wanted play a sport, because club basketball was not offered at the time, rugby was the first sport I wanted to check out. Though I had never played before, my family and friends insisted it was something I would love. I got a flyer, went to the first practice, and I haven’t stopped playing since.
Did you play any sports prior to rugby?
Tonya: Basketball, Water-polo, Muay Thai, and Rock Climbing
Do you have a philosophy/mindset when you practice and play rugby?
Tonya: I try to play with intensity and intention, my goal is to always play the hardest I can and to make every decision with confidence.
How did you first find out about the All Blues?
Tonya: I heard about the All Blues the same year I started playing. After the 2015-2016 D1 Championship game at Saint Mary’s, the Davis team was approached by a couple All Blues who were watching in the stands. That’s when I learned about the WPL and playing opportunities after college.
How long have you played for us?
Tonya: This is my Rookie year!
What is one of your best memories thus far as an All Blue?
Tonya: The best memory I have so far is seeing my name rostered at #7 in our first game of the season. I looked at that email all day because I couldn’t believe it, I’ll never forget how awesome that felt. My favorite thing about the All Blues is how supportive everyone is, we all try to lift eachother up. The All Blue team culture is definitely something special .
Are there particular player(s) and/or coach(es) that have influenced your development as a player?
Tonya: Richie McCaw, Portia Woodman, and my UCD homie Sydnee Watanabe are some of my biggest inspirations to watch as a player. Their tackles are poetry in motion and every time they step on the pitch they’re playing with maximum intensity and doing something amazing. However, I’d have to say the biggest influence I’ve had is from my Forwards Coach at UCD, Gary Gordon. Gary has always encouraged me to test my own limits and play the highest level of rugby there is. Gary continues to encourage me long after I’ve graduated from Davis.
What is the best advice you have ever received about rugby?
Tonya: The greatest advice I’ve ever received is to do everything with intention. Whether it’s a pass, a tackle, or a penalty, there is no time so second guess yourself, the worst decision to make is no decision at all.
What skills are you working on/would like to work on right now?
Tonya: I’m constantly working on my field vision, it’s a work in progress but there has definitely been improvement.
Who’s your favorite rugby player/team to watch?
Tonya: The USA Women and the Black Ferns, gotta’ root for the home team and the team the got me into rugby. But come November 3rd, I’m 1000% for the Eagles!
What is your favorite non-rugby activity?
Tonya: Backpacking, camping, and rock climbing.
If you were an ice cream flavor, which one would you be?
Tonya: Rocky Road
Most memorable thing for which you’ve gone to Kangaroo Court for?
Tonya: My last team, the Sacramento Amazons, fined me for taking our touch games too seriously... They were right ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Tonya: I’m currently planning to climb “The Nose” at Yosemite within the next year or two. It’s a 3000 feet climb and a life long goal of mine. It’s gonna’ be awesome.