Wednesday, November 9, 2016

West Side Girls' Team Looking for Future High School Stars

The West Side girls' rugby team is in search of players to join its ranks and become part of a larger winning tradition. The team will be open to girls in seventh and eighth grade and will provide a tight support system with one of the top high school teams in the nation.

The team is the West Side seventh and eighth grade girls team, which is primarily comprised of players in the Cleveland West Park areas. The team practices at Impett Park on Wednesdays and Fridays 6:00pm -7:00pm.

Mark-Joel Montgomery and his wife Casandra Manuszak have taken the reins of the West Side girls' seventh and eighth grade team and are looking for players to join. Both coaches have experience with the sport and ties to two of the most successful high school programs in the city, and the nation. Montgomery came through the Saint Ignatius rugby program, while Manuszak graduated from Saint Joseph Academy and played for four years. It's that connection to SJA that will be the crux of the team's success, though.

"We are a team that sends 90 per cent of our girls to play in the high school level at Saint Joseph Academy and have our girls attend all of the Saint Joseph rugby camps, if possible," Montgomery said. "We have close ties to Coach Barnes."

The club's bonds to the rugby community run deeper than a couple of camps and a pipeline to the next level. The bond between the West Side girls and the rugby community is a family affair. Players have ties to members of the Saint Ignatius and Saint Edward high school teams, among others. This creates a very close-knit, supportive atmosphere throughout the team as a whole.

This tie to the successful high school club has led to the team establishing an experienced core of players. These players will allow incoming girls to catch onto the game more easily and find themselves in the game. Together, the girls will help one another develop a skill set and style that will give them the best chance of being successful in competition. The team routinely competes in the Rookie Rugby Cleveland league and generally lands in one of the top three spots on the table once the season ends.

"We are one of the top contenders in our league," Montgomery said. "We are a very competitive team that has a lot of fun at practice, but come game time we play hard."

Interested players and parents should head to the team's practices or head to the Rookie Rugby Web site in order to contact the coaches.

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