For Allie Schrenker, sports have always come easy but something was lacking–until she discovered the game of rugby.

In her hometown of Bristol, Tenn., Schrenker participated in numerous sports like basketball and swimming. But the option of a contact-based and team-focused sport was not made available to her.

“In Bristol, they didn’t really encourage women to do things like that,” Schrenker said. “I had no idea Rugby existed because women in Bristol were supposed to be small or submissive. That’s what I was supposed to be and that is not who I was.”

Schrenker got her first introduction to rugby at UTC’s freshman orientation during the org fair. 

“They just looked like really cool girls,” Schrenker said “I was like, ‘Wow, I want to be that cool.” 

After learning more about the sport from the girls at the Booth, Schrenker was sold on rugby. The description of “football without pads” indicated to rugby was the sport with the level of aggression she was looking for.

“I was never really an aggressive person outside of the pitch,”  Schrenker said. “but I really liked the idea of hitting someone over and over again.”

The first game of rugby Schrenker played was rough. The rules were unclear and she barely knew any of her teammates. 

But the team made mistakes together. They played aggressively and Schrenker was encouraged to charge through the opposing team. It was the first time she had been encouraged to use her competitive strength against someone in a game.

From the first game, Schrenker fell in love with rugby and her in sophomore year, her coach informed here there were options for higher-level rugby. 

She remembered those words after she graduated from UTC in 2019 with a communication degree and moved to Denver to further her rugby career. 

Schrenker plays in the Women’s Premier League which is the highest level of rugby (excluding the national teams). 

Playing for the Glendale Merlins, Schrenker is surrounded by people who are just as passionate about rugby as she is. 

The on and off-field camaraderie of rugby is unrivaled, which is something Schrenker finds quite appealing about the sport. 

“We beat the hell out of each other on the field but then will go grab a beer with each other after the game,” Schrenker said. “It’s something I’ve never experienced in other sports.”  

Schrenker is currently in the player pool for the Women’s National Rugby Team and moving forward she is looking to play in the 2021 rugby world cup and seek to pursue a leadership role on the national team.

“I know I have a lot more work to put in,” Schrenker said. “And I’m ready to work towards it.”

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