Ashlee Byrge, along with the Davenport University women’s rugby team, are seeking perfection this season and have been a dominating force on the pitch.
Not really having a passion for soccer, Byrge was looking for a more aggressive sport to take part in. “I played soccer my entire life but I wasn’t very passionate about it, I needed something more aggressive,” said Byrge.
After being inspired by her brother, Byrge picked up rugby and helped start a team at her high school. “My sophomore year of high school I made a deal with the men’s rugby coach, he told me if I I got him a roster of 20 players that would want to play he would find us a coach and we did just that. It’s amazing to me I started a program at Herriman High School that is now one of the best teams in the state of Utah,” she continued.
Playing for Davenport has been a great experience for the sports and health science major. It has brought challenges but nothing the outside center couldn’t overcome. “Playing for Davenport has been a blast. It gets challenging at times but not for the reasons you’d think. We have had an incredible season scoring almost 400 points with only 17 scored against us the entire season. It’s fun to hold an undefeated season but not having tough competition all the time gets frustrating,” explained Byrge.
Byrge’s favorite moment is a unique one and it comes from a trip home. She explained, “My favorite rugby moment was coming home from school (Michigan) one weekend to watch my cousin and the rest of the Herriman girls rugby team play in a sevens tournament. This was my favorite moment because those girls know who I am, know I started the program, and look up to me because of my rugby success. They all run up to me and hug me, want to take pictures, and ask me question about how they can be better players.”
The Davenport Panthers women’s rugby team will travel to Greenville, SC to take on Bloomsburg University in the final four for DII nationals.