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Fallbrook Girls Rugby calls home elite players

FALLBROOK – Fallbrook Girls Rugby Club dominated California for over a decade and is recognized as one of the premier programs in the country. FGRC has produced eight USA Eagles players; including two Olympians. FGRC catapulted many girls of Fallbrook in their pursuit of post-high school education and elite level rugby competition.

Over the past 14 years FGRC has been the catalyst for over 30 girls pursuing their education and forge ahead in the sport they love. Most recently, Fallbrook had multiple players battling in Division 1 & 2 Championships in November where freshman Jordan Duncan received her first Division 1, NCAA Championship with Dartmouth College. In the Division 1 (Elite) conference, Fallbrook again was represented by junior Amanda Ware and freshman Brianna Beath, winning the 2022 championships.

Control of FGRC will be transferred to Fallbrook’s prestige alumni as many are choosing to return home from graduating college and completing rugby collegiate careers.

Richelle Stephens will assume the role of head coach. Stephens’ resume is overflowing with rugby excellence which started right here in our village where she won four National Championships with FGRC. After graduating from Fallbrook High School, Stephens transitioned to Lindenwood University where she captained six national championship teams and received a degree in Paramedicine. While at Lindenwood, Richelle competed in 2016 Olympics and in her senior year won the MA Sorenson Award for the best women’s player in American College Rugby.

John Duncan, who was FGRC’s head coach from 2019-2021, was asked about his retirement from coaching and his thoughts of handing over control to Stephens.

“I love FRGC and the opportunity it gives the ladies of Fallbrook, Richelle’s accolades speak for themselves; however, I’m thrilled that she has made the decision to return to Fallbrook to guide and mentor the ladies of Fallbrook,” Duncan said. “I have no doubts she will continue the success we’ve had for more than a decade and I’m excited to see her put her own spin on the club.”

Stephens isn’t the only returning Warrior on the sideline as a group of returning collegiate athletes have joined the crusade to continue FGRC dominance. Returning to Fallbrook is Lilly Durbin, a recent Dartmouth Graduate whose rugby accolades include four High School Championships with FGRC, two Division 1 NCAAA Championships and the recipient of the Agnes Kurtz Award, which is given to “the woman who best combines proficiency in athletics with dedication to the furthering of women’s sports'' and nominated for the MA Sorenson Award.

Joining Stephens and Durbin is another FGRC alumni Destiny Arena, who recently graduated from Lindenwood University with four Division 1 Elite National Championships. There is no doubt that the rugby excellence on the coaching staff is unmatched by any club in the nation, and it resides in Fallbrook.

Fallbrook Girls Rugby continues to prove to be more than just a club of Fallbrook athletes. It is a family with an opportunity for the young women of Fallbrook.Team manager Rosemary Fisher was asked about her thoughts of these women returning to Fallbrook to coach.

“I’ve watched all of these young ladies compete in High School and dominate the national level, and their return to Fallbrook tells a story in itself about the influence FGRC had on them and their desire to give back; welcome home ladies,” Fisher said.

Fisher’s daughter is also an alumni of FGRC and is currently playing rugby as a freshman for Harvard University where she had a gritty performance in the D1 NCAA Rugby Championships falling 5 points short to Dartmouth College where she lined up against her best friend and fellow FGRC alumni freshman Jordan Duncan.

Rugby is a sport for all ladies who desire to challenge themselves and be part of something great, according to the club. FGRC welcomes all girls grades 7-12 for competition in winter and spring. For more information, email at [email protected].

Submitted by Fallbrook Girls Rugby Club.

 

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