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Jess Ethier '23 signs NLI with Sacred Heart

Athletically, Jess Ethier ’23 came to Wilbraham & Monson Academy as a soccer and basketball player.

She’s still those things, but more than anything, she’s a rugby player.

In front of her parents and a large friend group, Jess signed her National Letter of Intent Feb. 27 to play women’s rugby at Sacred Heart University.

Jess was the second WMA female rugby player in as many years to commit to the Division I program in Fairfield, Connecticut. Gianna Courtney ’22 signed with the Pioneers in April of 2022, becoming the first female rugby player to officially sign with a collegiate program. Jess was the second.

Quotes from Jess

On what attracted her to Sacred Heart: “The coaches when I went to go visit were inviting. They gave me a tour of their entire facility and introduced me to a few of the girls. They told me about their culture and what they look for in a player. They care for their players more than what they just accomplish on the field. They care about person development rather than just player development, which was attractive to me and something I was looking for in a program.”

On having the opportunity to play rugby at WMA: “I came here as a basketball and soccer player. I didn’t know what I was going to do in the spring. During an alumni game, I came for soccer preseason and met with some of the girls. One of them was Asha (Puri ’20) and she said, ‘Hey Jess, I think you’d be really good for this sport.’ I told her I didn’t even know that was a sport here. I had previously played football. This was something I was looking for and interested in. COVID-19 hit, but between Asha and Gianna, they carried me throughout the season and my career so far. I fell in love with the game. I never thought I’d be put in this position to play in college, let alone Division I. I’m grateful for everyone who has put me in this position because I never thought it would be possible.”

On signing her NLI: “This day is very special, especially since it was postponed once (due to the weather). I’m grateful for everyone who could show up. It means lot looking out into the crowd, seeing my friends and family, and people texting me even though they couldn’t be here but they were watching on the live stream. It shows the community at Wilbraham & Monson Academy and how people care. It was a great experience.”

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