Weekly Feature



2017-08-10 / Sports

Henrich competes in national rugby tourney


Emily Henrich of Team USA makes a tackle against Team Canada in a two-game series the Junior All-Americans played in Ottawa over the weekend. Canada won both games. Henrich, an Orchard Park senior, was the youngest player on Team USA. Emily Henrich of Team USA makes a tackle against Team Canada in a two-game series the Junior All-Americans played in Ottawa over the weekend. Canada won both games. Henrich, an Orchard Park senior, was the youngest player on Team USA. While most high school athletes are enjoying their final weeks of summer vacation before the start of pre-season, Orchard Park's Emily Henrich has been competing at the highest level in her favorite sport. This past week, Henrich represented the United States in the Junior All Americans in a two-game series against their Canadian counterparts in Ottawa. The Junior All Americans are a team comprised of athletes 20 years old or younger. At age 17, Henrich was the youngest member of the squad and the only member of the team who is still in high school.

Henrich played every minute of both games against Canada in the outside center position. In the first match, played on Aug. 3, Henrich scored a first-half try that evened the score to 14-14. Unfortunately, Canada dominated the second half and won that game 45-24.

The second (Aug. 7) match against the hosts was not as competitive, as Canada pulled away to a 50-12 victory (featuring several tries in the final 10 minutes of the match). Henrich was compelled to play defense most of the second match and her hard hitting tackles prevented the score from being even more lopsided.

Henrich's road to the Junior All Americans began in December 2016 when she was invited to a selection camp in Florida which drew from the best young college rugby players in the nation. In July, Henrich attended a second round camp in Arizona from which the final 25-member squad was selected.

This was not Henrich's first experience as the youngest member of a squad, as she was brought along as a substitute in 2015 when the High School All-Americans (U-18) played a two-game series against British Columbia in Vancouver. Last summer she was the captain of the All-American side that defeated Quebec in both matches of that two-game series.

Henrich will barely have time to wash her red, white and blue apparel before she flies to France during the first week of September to represent the United States at the European U-18 Sevens Championship being played in Lyon, France. The USA placed second at that tournament last year (behind the French hosts), so expectations are high and Henrich is eager to contribute.

While enjoying the opportunity to represent her country at the international level in rugby, Henrich is also looking forward to her final season as a member of the Orchard Park Quaker soccer team this fall and as a member of the basketball team in the winter. Meanwhile, Henrich is enjoying the attention of numerous NCAA Division I rugby programs and hopes to make her college decision this fall.

After that decision is made, her next rugby goal will be to help lead the Orchard Park Girls' Rugby team to a record fourth consecutive New York State Championship in the spring. Orchard Park Rugby always welcomes new players for any of its squads (high school girls, high school boys, youth flag) and is eager to welcome all athletes to its winning and positive tradition.

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