After Loughborough College rugby player Leah Bartlett was chosen as region captain for the finals of the 2017 Association of Colleges Sport National Championships, the women’s team has gone on to become medal winners.
Leah was named Female Captain for the East Midlands and was a flag bearer at the opening ceremony with more than 1600 students from across the UK gathering in Nottingham for the three-day event, now in its 39th year.
The 18 year old, who is in her second year of the Women’s RFU programme at Loughborough College, recently achieved her first cap for England Women after earning a place with the national U20 squad last summer.
The College’s WRFU team were competing in the AoC Sport National Championships for the first time and, after triumphing against five regions, reached the finals to face Wales.
Isla Alejandro, who is in her first year at Loughborough College, became the Championship finals top scorer with seven tries to help the team to a silver medal.
Isla has been selected to play for the Midlands in the Divisional 7’s event at Birmingham Exiles on Sunday 21 May alongside fellow College team players Zoe Warrington, Ellen Ramsbottom Hollie Bawden and Katie Gregory.
The women’s rugby programme at Loughborough College is still only in its second year but in addition to producing two international players – as well as Leah’s England call up, Ellen Dewson debuted for Scotland U20s in spring 2016 - Amy Relf and Lauren Rigby were both named for the U18s national Talent Development Group for 2016-17.
“The AoC Sport National Championships silver was a fantastic result for our debut.
“We also took part in the Rosslyn Park Sevens for the first time this year and reached the semi-finals – in our first game we beat the Swedish national U18’s team, a real highlight for us,” said Chris Parr, Women’s RFU AASE coordinator at Loughborough College.
“The WRFU programme is going from strength to strength and we have even more amazing, high-calibre players amongst our new recruits starting in September, with many part of the national Talent Development Group.
“For the first time we will have two tiers. We will continue with our high performance programme but there will also be an academy, for aspirational and developmental players. This will offer the potential for talent transfer, meaning great netballers or volleyballers have the chance to move into rugby.”
Pictured: The Loughborough College WRFU team after winning silver at the 2017 AoC Sport National Championship finals (back row left to right) Assistant Coach Dave Challenger, Head Physio Claire Plimmer, Hollie Bawden, Katie Gregory, Amy Relf (Captain), Leah Bartlett, Hannah Walton, Ellen Ramsbottom, Amelia Harper, Head Coach Chris Parr (front row left to right) Meg Warsop, Abi Gordon, Meg Davey, Isla Alejandro, Zoe Warrington (Vice Captain)
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