Guam’s Ale Ada bookended her collegiate rugby career with a national championship as Dartmouth College defeated Army West Point 28-18 on the Black Knights’ home turf.
In their first night game of the season, the Big Green (9-0) capped a phenomenal, undefeated season – their first since going varsity 2015 – with National Intercollegiate Rugby Association championship and an Ivy League title.
“It’s such an extraordinary feeling. I ended my freshman year a national champion and I got to end my senior year a national champion. It feels even better to be UNDEFEATED national champions,” Ada said after the game.
Head coach Katie Dowty described the experience as incredible via an interview on the school’s website.
"None of us will ever forget today's scene. We knew Army would be fierce and the stands would be packed, but we wouldn't have it any other way,” she said. “This team deserved to show all they can do in front of a packed stadium and get such a hard-earned victory. Thanks to all of our Dartmouth fans who turned out in numbers to battle the home crowd.”
Ada echoed her thanks to the Dartmouth fans, adding it was a special moment to hear “our Dartmouth fan base cheer for us throughout the entire game. Their energy kept us going.” Even Ada’s family showed up to fuel the competitive fire.
Going into the game, Ada said they expected the Black Knights to be physical, adding it was crucial they meet the tempo Army was expected to set.
“We know that they are a tough and physical team and we wanted to shut that down,” she said. “We knew this was going to be a game of inches, we just needed to set the bar to see if they could measure up to it.”
Looking back, the 21-year-old said she will always remember the hard work it took daily to come out on top.
“I’m grateful. Never would I have thought that I’d be a two-time national champion, as well as a, two-time Ivy League champion,” she said. “I’m thankful for my coaches who gave me an opportunity to live my dreams and to show the just a bit of the amazing talent that Guam produces.”
The senior who will be graduating with a degree in Biological Anthropology offered this take to athletes looking to make it in collegiate sports and elevate their game.
“To my young, fellow rugby players, take that leap of faith. Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you,” she said. “You can do absolutely anything as long as you’re committed to working hard and showing up. The sky is limit, so chase your dreams!”