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Day in the Life: Student-Athlete at University of New England (NCAA)

Liz Cogan Year in School: Sophomore

Major: Environmental Science with a minor in Animal Behavior

Years Playing Rugby: 14 years

Position in Rugby: Flanker

Why did you choose your school?

I chose UNE because I wanted to play competitive rugby and still have an education focused on the importance of local and global environments. UNE is the perfect place to expand my interests and knowledge of the world, with study abroad programs and great placement between the Atlantic Ocean and a 363-acre forest.

What was your process of being recruited?

I ended up looking up some different club and varsity programs, especially NIRA, and found UNE. I then filled out a prospective student-athlete questionnaire I found on the UNE sports' website. From there, I was able to contact Coach Potvin and some current students at UNE to talk about the team and my specific major, which was incredibly helpful in making sure I picked the right school for my needs and goals. After touring the school and meeting Coach Potvin for the first time, I knew that UNE was my dream school, so I applied and luckily got in!

What are your favorite parts about being a member of the rugby program?

My favorite part about being a member of the rugby program is the support system I now have! I know I can rely on my teammates and coaching staff for both school and life-related questions, and there is nothing better than seeing teammates excel in the classroom and on the field! The friendships I have made by being a part of the rugby team have helped me find a place of security and fun in college. We always have each other’s back, and it makes my day when I see my teammates outside of class around campus!

What are your favorite parts about being a student at your school?

My favorite part about being a student at UNE has to be the location! I get to have a private beach to relax on after a hard pre-season day, and a beautiful forest I can explore and learn in. I thought that moving to Maine would mean feet of snow in the winter but being on the coast gives us the perfect amount of warmer weather that stops the major snowfall that inland New England gets.

How do you balance schoolwork and rugby?

At first, balancing schoolwork and rugby was tough! I had to learn how to manage my time between classes and practice, and both digital and paper planners became my best friend. I can balance my homework and projects with the busy fall and spring seasons by making sure I set out time each day to focus only on school so that I have a clear mind for practices and games.

What does a typical day and/or week look like for you?

A typical day for me in season is starting off with breakfast either in my dorm or the dining hall, then heading to classes. If possible, I try to schedule my classes for the mornings, so I have plenty of time to get ready for practice. As a sophomore, I am taking my requirements for my major and minor, which this year includes fun classes about preservation and conservation, environment in society, GIS, and psychology for my minor! I usually eat lunch in between classes with teammates or immediately after my last class, which gives me about 3 ½ hours in between classes and practices to do my homework, go to athletic training if I am feeling tight or sore, and eat a snack before I head to the Forum for lift and practice.

The team has lift sessions two times a week immediately before practice, which is an hour of weightlifting and exercises directly relating to strength and agility for rugby. After lifting, the team heads over to our grass or turf field for practice, which typically lasts an hour and a half. After practice, the team usually eats dinner together, as well as do more schoolwork and study as a group. I finish my day by heading back to my dorm to finish any work due that night and get plenty of rest before my next school day!

What’s the biggest challenge about playing rugby at your school?

One of the challenges I was not expecting about playing rugby at my school was the difference in student and school support in game attendance and exposure compared to the more popular men’s sports. The advertisement school-wide is very different from the football team, despite us playing on the same field at similar times. I have found that women’s sports generally have more difficulty getting an engaged audience and social media presence despite their successes in their conferences.

Besides rugby, what else are you involved in on campus?

Besides rugby, I am involved in FAA (Female Athletic Alliance), which supports and raises awareness for gender differences at school and globally in athletics. The club interacts with the athletic department and sports in nearby Biddeford to make young girls interested in pursuing sports in higher education and give current athletes support and a voice in the disparities we have found at UNE.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with a high school player who is interested in your school?

My biggest piece of advice to see if UNE is the place for you is to visit and talk to current players on the team! It is so important to find the right culture and competitiveness that makes you feel comfortable on a team, as well as the type of school experience you are hoping for in college. I have found that talking to a player that had the same major as me in my recruiting process and having someone excited to answer questions and show me the ropes played a key role in my college decision. School Website: Rugby Team Website: UNE Women's Rugby

Head Coach Ashley Potvin - Photo Credit to : David Bates Photography



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