2021 WRCRA CONFERENCE

PANEL - PLAYERS GONNA PLAY; LEADERS GONNA LEAD:

MEET SOME OF THE CREATIVE LEADERS FORGING

NEW PATHWAYS TO GROW THE GAME

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MODERATOR: KOMA GANDY

Koma is a coach in the USA Pathway for the Under-18 Girls 7s and the Division I Women's All-Star Team, and head coach of the Village Lions women's and men's club teams in New York City. She also helps promote the sport for girls and women through Play Rugby USA and the Sierra Leone Rugby Union. A decorated U.S. Navy veteran who achieved the rank of lieutenant commander, Koma serves as the head coach of All Navy Men's Rugby, the first woman to lead a men's team in the history of the Armed Forces. USA Rugby Women's National Team  Pool. Koma was a standout player for Harvard and was in the WNT pool. She was recently named to the USAR Board.

KAT AVERSANO

Kat is on the Board of Directors for USA Youth and High School Rugby as the Southeast Regional Director, in addition to holding grassroots administrative roles in Maryland and Virginia. She also co-directs the USWRF Women’s History Project. Kat returned to rugby on the administrative and coaching side after a catastrophic non-rugby injury. Kat works for the Department of Justice as a Legal Historian and Information Specialist and is a proud Howard Law alumnae.

LAUREN BARBER

Lauren Barber was the Youth Program Manager and a Coach for Atavus Rugby and Youth Coordinator for the Seattle Seawolves. She is current Head Coach of the Girls Washington Loggers High School Select-Side, Recruitment Director for the Seattle Rugby Club Men and Women, working group member for the USA Youth and High School organization, and Vice Chair of the Rugby Washington Board. Lauren has been part of five, D1 National Championship teams (four with Pennsylvania State University; one with Seattle Saracens) and one-time Club 7s National Champion with Atavus Academy. She is currently an active player for the Seattle Rugby Club (formerly Saracens) and the Washington Athletic Club. 

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OLIVIA BENZAN DANIEL

Olivia is the President of the College Rugby Association of America (Women’s Division), Secretary, American College Rugby Association (ACRA), the Commissioner of Northeast D1, Vice Commissioner, Rugby Northeast, President, 7s Program Director, for Beantown and USAR Club Council Training & Development Committee Member. She is a coach educator with the USWRF Horizons Project Coaching Certification Program and a level 100 referee. She is the Head Coach of the Brandeis University Women’s Rugby and the St. Mary’s High School Girls team. She is an assistant coach with the Free Jacks Academy and plays for Beantown RFC (WPL Team) she was a WPL All-Star, selected for Fall 2019 Premiership Scholarship Trip (Coach).

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KATIE HUNZINGER

Katie is a clinical exercise physiologist and a third year PhD student at the University of Delaware where she is studying the chronic effects of rugby participation on postural control and neurophysiological outcomes in the Concussion Research Laboratory. She is currently a World Rugby Educator (Strength & Conditioning and Referee), referee with East Pennsylvania Rugby Referees Society, Sports Performance representative on the USAR T&D committee, crossfit coach, and adjunct instructor at Holy Family University. Katie completed her BS at Northern Illinois University where she was a member of the women's rugby team and master's at Wake Forest University where she was an assistant coach with the men's rugby team and referee for Southeast Rugby Referees Society.  She also played 7s with the Chicago Lions 7s. 

MARY SWANSTROM

Mary is a professional athletic trainer. Currently working for the MLR House SaberCats, Mary has also worked for the University of Illinois at Chicago, Athletico PT, and PRO Rugby Sacramento Express. While athletic training is her profession, Mary has a passion for training and education. She is a World Rugby educator, serves as the USA Rugby Training and Education Southern Region Administrator, and as a member of both the USA Rugby Senior Club Council T&E Committee and USA Youth and High School Training and Education committees. A Navy vetern Mary has an extensive coaching resume including Head and Forwards Coaching positions for a number of teams. 

KATIE WURST

Katie is Director of Rugby at Queens University, in Charlotte, NC. She is a coaching course leader and Level 300 World Rugby coach educator, a role she has held since 2008. She was one of the authors of the USWRF Horizons Project. Katie has held an array of positions with USA Rugby including game development officer (2005-2007), youth development manager (2007-2009). Locally, she serves on the Training and Development committee for Carolinas Rugby Union.
Katie has held Head Coaching positions at the University of Colorado, the University of Minnesota, Elon University, and the University of South Carolina. She served as the national team coach for Lao Rugby Federation, and was the youth coach and program manager for Shannon Rugby Football Club in Limerick Ireland. Katie earned her bachelor’s degree in sports management from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Her Masters from University of Minnesota and her Doctorate at UNC-Greensboro.