BARRINGTON – Tomi McCarthy, a Barrington Municipal High School grad, has landed a spot on the Acadia University Rugby Varsity team.
Competition was tough during tryouts, not just because of the number of women trying out, but because this particular rugby was all new to McCarthy.
Also, unlike most of the players who had grown up playing rugby, McCarthy had only been playing rugby for two years.
The high school games she had played were Rugby Sevens, which, has the name implies, has just seven players on the field.
During tryouts McCarthy was faced Rugby 15s, which has 15 players instead.
“Fifteen’s has a lot more contact with less space on the field,” she says.
Her coach from BMHS, Gerald Digout, says she is a very hard worker.
“She never drops the ball and was our top scorer,” he says, describing her as smart and a good leader.
“She was a walk on,” he says about the tryouts. “She impressed enough to make the team.”
McCarthy is reportedly the first woman to play university varsity sports from BMHS since 2004 and Sara Belliveau.
“This is a big do for us,” says Digout.
McCarthy says it was scary starting out to compete at this level but things were going great so far.
While she didn’t immediately love rugby when she first started out, after her first game she fell hard for the sport.
Despite being a high contact sport, she’s only had a couple minor injuries including a bruised tailbone and ankle.
“If you know the format and technique it’s difficult to get hurt,” she says.
As of last week the team was halfway through its season. After five exhibition games the team had split two league games.
“It’s intense,” she says, “but it’s been a really great experience so far.”