One-on-One: Yejadai Dunn '16
This week, The Dartmouth sat down with Yejadai Dunn ’16 to speak about her recent experience playing as part of the ATAVUS All-Stars Women’s Collegiate 15’s team, as well as her rugby career at Dartmouth. Dunn will be competing in USA Rugby’s National All-Star competition on August 11.
How did you first get into rugby?
YD: My high school had a club team, and one of my good friends had always tried to get me to join. However, I was in varsity track so I never really had the opportunity to try it out. When I got to Dartmouth my freshman year, a ’14 on the team encouraged me to try it out. I went to an informational meeting and met some girls from the team. After speaking with them and watching the team play, I knew rugby was meant for me.
I understand you’re off for the summer. How are you currently training?
YD: I’ve been playing for Beantown this summer, but I didn’t get in as much time as I wanted due to conflicts with work. However, it was a great experience. Along with playing in the All-Stars tour this past weekend, I have the National All-Star competition in August. I’ve been training a lot on my own, like lifting and working on conditioning.
I understand that you were previously injured your freshman year. Has that affected how you play on the field?
YD: I separated my shoulder towards the end of spring season my freshman year, but it’s healed since then. I went through rehab, but it was definitely a lingering injury and it impacted my mobility. However, it hasn’t bothered me in the last eight months.
Can you speak about your experience competing in the All-Stars tour?
YD: I met some amazing coaches as well as wonderful players, and there were national team players helping out with training. We had a brutal match against Ontario Storm. They were really good adversaries and we ended up losing an extremely tough game. I don’t think the overall score reflected how hard we trained. Overall, it was a really great experience.
How do you think having a new coach will impact the team?
YD: I’ve heard many good things about Coach [Katie] Dowty from people who have been in rugby for a long time. She’s had a lot of experience and has been on the circuit, so I think she can elevate the team’s play to next level. In general, she’s a very thoughtful person. I think Coach Dowty will really embrace program and help us dominate the Ivies.
How do you think the team’s transition to a varsity sport will change the dynamic?
YD: I think it’ll give the team a lot more support and drive to play at their best. It’s not that we didn’t have that before, I just think having more resources in the program will bring out the best in us and help unleash that on the field.
Going into the new season, can you speak about your competition in the Ivy League?
YD: The two other varsity rugby teams in the Ivy League are Harvard and Brown. They both provide very strong competition in their own ways. Brown is very physical and plays strong forward game. Harvard has a solid back and forward game. I think they’ll provide great competition for us in the upcoming season.
As co-captain of the team, what are your goals for upcoming season?
YD: The team has meant everything to me. I see them as my friends and family, and I don’t think I would have gotten to where I am today without them. I hope to be a good leader on and off the field and give it all back by showing my team that I’m there for them. I also want to inspire my teammates and give them confidence.