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 Talia Carrasquillo - 2011 Kevin Higgins
College Scholarship Grant Recipient

San Diego, CA (December 19, 2011) - I think it’s safe to say that Talia Carrasquillo likes contact sports. She’s been a kick boxer since she was six years old and when she played rugby for the first time she fell in love with the sport. She has played a number of positions since she first started playing as a freshman while attending Greenfield High School in Greenfield, WI but seems to be most comfortable at hooker and flanker, two positions that require a lot of physical play.

“It’s funny,” said Talia’s University of Northern Iowa head coach Steve Murra. “Most kids send me a highlight reel of them scoring tries and running all over the pitch. Talia sent me a five minute highlight reel of her hitting people. I think it really speaks to her and how she prides herself on defense and beating her opposite for 80 minutes.”

Talia began her rugby in 2008 for the Kettle Moraine Knightmares Rugby Club playing both inside and outside center positions. Her sophomore year with the Knightmares saw her once again playing in the centers but she got her first taste of playing blindside flank as well. Talia has always been a big proponent of fitness and flanker seemed to be the perfect fit where she could combine her high work rate with her passion for contact. She adapted quickly to her new position and was selected for the Wisconsin U19 side that summer.

Her junior year saw more change as Talia switched over to open side flank and was also named the team’s captain, a role she would end up taking on for a number of teams she would play for. She was named to the All-Tournament XV at the Wisconsin State Championships that year and also received The Rugger Award as the outstanding player on the Knightmares team.

The summer after her junior year was a big one for Talia. She once again earned Wisconsin U19 selection and then took part in the trip of a lifetime to Sri Lanka as a member of the Southern California Griffins. Many wanted the one open roster spot but Talia was the one chosen. “Talia was every bit of what I wanted in a flanker,” said Griffins coach Pavi Perera. “She was quick on the loose ball, a great tackler, and most of all, a team player and great motivator.” Talia was in the starting lineup for both matches against the Sri Lanka Women’s National Team and was one of three Griffins to score a try. Later that summer she played at the US U20s National Team flight camp where she played hooker for the first time.   

Talia continued to improve along with her team in her senior year. Captaining the Knightmares once again, she led her team to a 2nd place finish at the state championships and a 3rd place finish in the Midwest. She was named her team’s Most Valuable Player. She captained the Midwest High School Thunderbirds and also played for the Midwest Thunderbirds team. She capped off her year by being selected to the Wisconsin U19 team for the third year in a row and once again took part in the US U20 National Team flight camp.

While in high school, Talia gave back to the Milwaukee community by providing community service at the Latin Community Center. In the summer months she mowed the lawns of her grandparents and several other elderly folks in their neighborhood. You could also find Talia in the gym…a lot. She worked out three times a day and many of those sessions would see Talia helping many of her teammates through their lifting routines.

Her discipline in the gym helps her on the field. “I have to always keep thinking to myself no matter how tired I am, no matter how much time is left in the game, and no matter what the weather is like, I have to play my hardest, going all out until the final whistle is blown. It is my goal to put my body through whatever challenges it needs to be put in in order for my team to win.”

Talia is studying sports medicine at UNI hoping to be a personal trainer, coach or physical therapist “because in all three of these fields I can continue to do what I love and maintain a healthy lifestyle while helping others to do so as well.”

Congratulations Talia on being named a 2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.

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