"Put me in Coach!"
For quad rugby player Jelena Hatfield-Parker, her first tournament with the Sierra Storm was nerve-wracking. She was not worried about the competition or about winning — she was worried about getting in.
“I thought coach might sideline me for all the games,” Hatfield-Parker said. “But I got in and I thought I did pretty well.”
The Sierra Storm, Reno’s only quad rugby team, competed at the Reno Rumble tournament last Friday to Sunday at the Plumas Gym, which featured teams from around the West. (Rumble results)
Hatfield-Parker saw lots of playing time and made her mark, winning the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award. Hatfield-Parker was one of the bright spots for the Storm, whose closest match was against Northridge in a 43-29 loss.
“It was a little harder than I expected,” Hatfield-Parker said. “With the whistles and the fouls, I wasn’t used to that yet.”
The team featured three current and former Nevada students: Gary Mokuau, Liz Phillips and Chris Chapman. Although the Storm finished in sixth by losing each of its five matches in the round robin tournament, the weekend wasn’t about winning and losing for the Storm.
Head coach Rick Mason said the experience the team gained is invaluable for the team going forward, especially with a young team featuring many players competing in its first tournament.
“I think they improved every game,” Mason said. “For a lot of these guys, it was their first experience in a tournament. You can work on it as much as you want in practice, but until you play another team, it’s a different game.”
For many of the players, the tournament provided them a chance to experience quad rugby on a competitive level.
“We definitely came together more,” Frankie Tenorio said. “We were talking to each other more and really helped each other in telling us where we needed to be and what we needed to be doing.”
The tournament also gave the team a chance to learn by watching other teams play from the stands, giving them a whole new perspective on the game.
“It’s good to see other teams play,” said Tenorio, who’s been with the team for one year. “You get a different perspective and are able to see things that you can do better.”