Serevi credits success to team
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The women’s rugby team joined varsity sports last year with a mix of all-star and international players looking to make a statement. And with help from its team captain and center, Asinate “Nate” Serevi, it finished second at nationals.
“Nate, and some of the other girls, have quite a strong background in rugby. Nate, in particular, was raised around the world of international rugby,” said head coach Mel Denham. “Her innate understanding and joy for the game brought natural leadership to the team on the field. It also helped maintain a sense of enjoyment and passion for playing and practicing day in and day out in a varsity environment.”
Serevi, like a lot of the other veteran players, started out by playing for club teams and attending rugby camps such as Camp Crusaders in Seattle. In addition, she was also raised by a family that understands rugby well.
“I grew up around it, but I still have a lot to learn and the coaches here have a lot to teach me,” Serevi said.
Her father, Waisale Serevi, is a revered rugby player and is widely considered one of the best rugby sevens players of all-time, but Nate Serevi’s beginning at Central didn’t start with her father.
“I was playing a game at the [National All-Star Competition], and [Denham] was on the other team,” Nate Serevi said. “After the game ended, she approached me and asked if I was interested in playing rugby in college and I said yes.”
It took some time to get the varsity team going, but Central made sure that the team had a good start by bringing in Denham, who coached Harvard’s rugby team to a NCAA Division II National Championship in 2011 and had just coached the American International College, which finished third in the NCAA Division I the year before she moved to Central.
“It felt new for everyone playing on varsity,” said junior Rosa Pena, a scrum-half and flanker for the team. “We wanted to set a standard and give national teams someone to compete with. For the last year or so it was the same teams making it to nationals and we wanted to change that. It was a moment for everyone.”
Nate Serevi and her teammates decided to play for Central for their own reasons, but many agreed upon one common goal: to set a standard.
“We came out here to join a team that was just starting up instead of being on a team that was already winning,” Nate Serevi said. “The women’s rugby [varsity] program started last year and we had a goal to set.”
In addition to the accomplishment of placing second in the nation while being a captain, Nate Serevi earned the title of “CWU Female Fall Athlete” her freshman year nearly halfway through the season.
“My team assisted me in getting that award,” Nate Serevi said. “With the help of the other coaches and players I got to come out here and learn. I had talent before, but I still had much to learn from them.”