Athlete of the Week: Morgan ’16 demolishes defenses, leads women’s rugby to Ivy championship

All-American leads Bruno through conference tournament with seven tries in two games

Sports Staff Writer
Friday, November 7, 2014

Kiki Morgan ’16 has been a lethal weapon for women’s rugby all season, proving instrumental in the squad’s first varsity season and its achievement of the title of Ivy League Champion last weekend. A speed demon, Morgan was the team’s most effective offensive threat  and didn’t let a single game pass without making her mark on the scoreboard. She scored an impressive seven tries at last weekend’s Ivy tournament — three times against Harvard in the semifinal and four times against Dartmouth in the championship game. Morgan is also a two-time member of USA’s Rugby’s All-American team. For her impressive season and stardom in the conference tournament, The Herald has named Morgan Athlete of the Week.


Herald: How did you discover rugby? Had you ever played before coming to Brown?

No. After I got into Brown, I thought of joining the track team and walking on there, so that’s what I did. I was on the track team for about two weeks. … I had done track my whole life, but I was just unhappy with track at that point and wanted to try something different. I noticed a rugby practice happening, and I was like, “Maybe I should try that out.” So I tried out rugby, and I loved it. But I thought I could do both track and rugby at the same time


What was that like?

It wasn’t fun. But I did that for about a week or two, and then I realized I had to make a decision, At that point, three different track coaches had quit, and I was unhappy with the sport. So I decided, “You know, why not? I’ll give up track and go to rugby.” It’s the best decision I’ve made so far.


What got you hooked on rugby?

Track is very individual, and … you just run to run. But with rugby, there’s a purpose. There’s this team aspect, which is really what drove me in. And it was just fun. I’d never tackled someone, actually hit someone, so that aspect was fun, too.


What’s your favorite aspect of Brown rugby in particular?

It really is like a family. I know some people like to sell that point, but it really is. We hung out all weekend because of Ivy Championships, and the next day people were like, “Oh my gosh, I miss everyone. We should hang out again.” It’s just fun. These people become your friends. You have other friends outside of rugby, but they become people you can depend on, you can talk to. They’ve seen you in your worst moments and in your best. They’ve seen you when things have gone horribly wrong or you’re stressing about getting to rugby and doing homework. They just know you.


Can you describe what went through your head when you became an Ivy champion? 

I was exhausted. It was our second game, and it was just brutal. The weather was horrible — it was 30 to 40 degrees that whole weekend. My body was tired. Everyone else around me was like, “Oh we’re number one, we’re Ivy Champs,” and I was just like, “I want a nap.”


How did it feel like when it sank in?

When it sank in, it was great. Before two years ago, Brown had won Ivy Championships like six or seven years in a row. So there’s this history of championship rugby, and we kind of lost our path the last few years. It felt good to finally get back to that winning tradition.


You were named to the All-American team last year and the year before. What does it mean to you to be a nationally recognized rugby player? Did you ever expect that? 

I never expected that, especially because I was All-American my first year. … It was more of a surprise the first year because I had just started playing rugby a few months ago — I didn’t think I was that good. I mean I did go to the Olympic training center to train with some of the national team athletes, but I was still never the best, I was still learning rugby. The first time they sent me that email, I thought it was a joke, and I replied back, “Are you joking with me?”


What is your favorite class at Brown?

Oh, that’s a toughie. I would have to say … I like my current class, which is Intimate Violence. It’s a sociology class; we’re studying why things happen, like family abuse and stuff like that. But I also really liked Intro to Acting and Directing.


Ratty or VDub? 

Neither. Jo’s. If I had to give an answer, I would say Ratty.

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