By Jon Dinan
NEW YORK Roscoe native Rosie Miesner was recently named one of the top 40 female rugby players in the nation.
After a stand-out performance this year as a Northeast Region all-star representing the New York Rugby Club (NYRC), she was invited by national team coaches to play in the Elite Rugby Competition at the University of Northern Colorado an opportunity afforded to only 100 of the nation’s top players.
From there the field of 100 was whittled down to 40. Once again, Miesner made the cut.
That pool of 40 will participate at the Elite Fall Assembly at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO in September.
Of those 40 players roughly 30 will be chosen to represent U.S. Women’s Rugby Team at the Rugby World Cup to be held in France in 2014.
“It’s a lot of work and you get banged up, but it’s really rewarding,” said Miesner, 27. “It’s a dream of mine to be able to represent my country.”
At 6’1’’, 180 lbs., Miesner’s frame gives her a leg up in a sport where size is certainly an advantage. But she confessed there are certain drawbacks to being bigger such as trying to get lower than the runner when making a tackle, or squeezing in between tacklers as a runner. Fortunately for Miesner, she has impressive mobility to go along with her imposing stature.
Having a large build doesn’t make Miesner injury proof either. She has three herniated discs in her back and is still rehabilitating from a wrist surgery for a dislocated tendon she had a several months ago.
Miesner was a 19 year-old sophomore at Fordham University when she discovered rugby. She saw a group of students playing a pick-up game so she joined in and immediately fell in love with a sport seldom associated with teenage girls.
Miesner had already tried her luck with other, more traditional sports.
“I played basketball in high school and fouled out a lot,” she said of her days at Roscoe High School. “And in soccer, I would use my body to gain an advantage.”
Rugby was a perfect fit for Miesner and her affinity for high contact.
She went on to join Fordham’s women’s rugby team, and won the Most Valuable Forward Award in 2006 and 2007.
Miesner confessed however that she did not start playing at a high level until she joined the NYRC, after graduating Fordham in ‘07.
After Fordham, she attended grad school to receive her masters in general and special education. Unfortunately, the Bank Street College of Education in Manhattan, doesn’t have a rugby program, so she joined the NYRC, the oldest rugby club in the U.S.
“When I joined New York I was 160 pounds soaking wet,” Miesner noted. “Now I’m 180 pounds of muscle and I’m much smarter, more disciplined player.”
Miesner has played with the NYRC for five years now, and during those five seasons New York has won two national championships and finished fifth or better five years in a row.
“She’s definitely someone you want on your team, not someone you want to play against,” said her NYRC coach Heidi Rubenstein. “She’s an obvious leader with tremendous work ethic and an all-around great person. She’s welcoming to new players, she’s patient and everyone likes her. She’s the full package.”
Though Miesner admitted she raises eyebrows when she tells people about her rugby exploits, she receives a tremendous amount of encouragement from her family, friends, and teammates.
“I couldn’t ask for better parents through all of this. They are really my number one fans, and their support has been instrumental to my success,” Miesner said. “The community has been so supportive, and it’s been a really positive experience.”
“She trains so hard and is so involved with everything she does. Her father and I are extremely proud of her,” Rosie’s mother, Lori Miesner said.
The camaraderie, Miesner said, is her favorite thing about rugby, next to the physicality.
“I’ve really formed a bond with my teammates. They’re all such determined and disciplined people.” Miesner stated.
Juggling being a private school kindergarten teacher, a grad school student and an elite rugby player is no easy task but somehow Miesner has found a way to maintain balance.
“I don’t have a family yet, so I still have enough time and resources,” Miesner revealed. “It’s a lot to balance but it’s worth it, and it’s really working out right now.”