Gianna C. '22 earns spot on NE Free Jacks

Gianna C. '22 earns spot on NE Free Jacks

When it comes to sports, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Gianna Courtney ’22 loves to hit.

In July, Gianna hit some of the top rugby players from the mid-Atlantic region when her New England Free Jacks U19 team played DC Old Glory in a home-and-home series.

New England won the first game 19-7 in Virginia July 10, before DC won the finale in Massachusetts 33-0 July 18. The games consisted of four 15-minute quarters.

Gianna was selected to the 20-player squad after a pair of tryouts.

Quotes from Gianna

On her experience playing for the Free Jacks: “I had an amazing time. I know I have made some really great friends during this. The coaches were really supportive and were there if you had any questions. I was personally nervous to be so far away from my parents but getting on the bus with the girls and my friends made the nerves go away. I think staying in the hotel really bonded us. Just being back out on the pitch was a great feeling. Win or lose I had a great time.” 

On what she likes about rugby: “I like how you go out there and tackle each other, then get off the field and act as buddies. There are no hard feelings taken off the field. I also enjoy the physical aspect of rugby. There is really no other sport for females out there where you get to tackle each other. I think it's a super fun game and everyone should give it a shot.” 

On how the WMA’s Girls’ Rugby program prepared her: “Well, I first started playing rugby at WMA my freshman year. We started from the basics, which every player needs to know. Thankfully this year we had a game. Because of COVID-19, I didn't think we would have a chance to get on the field. Mr. (Don) Nicholson (Director of Athletics) really pushed for us to be able to play. Those games and practices made me feel confident enough to go try out for the U19 team.”