NORTHFIELD, Vt. – If there was a word that characterized Emily Baugus, it would be “adaptation.”
The Norwich University junior has made the most of what some may see as tough choices by doing just that. A few cases in point illustrate it well.
Firstly, she was originally recruited to play soccer and didn’t make the team as a freshman. A friend, who was on the rugby team, said “Have you ever thought about rugby?”. She hadn’t, but Coach Austin Hall was glad see decided to try it out.
Hall saw immediate potential, taking her under his wing early.
“She is a gamer,” he said. “The flyhalf is the quarterback of the team and has to be on the same page as the coach throughout the game. Emily is just that.
“I often joke with others on the team that if we had a chess or checkers tournament on campus, I’d pick her as a favorite even if she didn’t know much about it going in,” he added. “She is just so determined to learn something and succeed at it. It’s about adapting to a situation, and she does so very well.”
Baugus liked rugby immediately because of something her coach asked her during the first week of practice.
“He wanted to know if I was a physical or finesse player,” she said. “I told him liked the physical side of it. So, that fit the game, and he gradually worked me into the flyhalf position.”
Secondly, Baugus had some similar circumstances in regards to her major. The Kingsville, Texas, native had thought about architecture. However, it wasn’t exactly what she wanted. So, she drew back on a yen for business she had growing up with her dad, James Baugus, and mother, Sharon Pennington, to go into construction engineering.
“(Construction engineering) gave me the opportunity to still have some of the architecture but also combine it with business and working on highways,” she said with a smile. “I like how things work, especially in our highway infrastructure.
“The business side of this comes pretty easily,” she added. “I used to help run a darts league and other activities they were part of when I was younger.”
Thirdly, Baugus and her teammates have used adaptation throughout the 2011-12 season to get prepared for the USA Rugby Collegiate Nationals.
“Those of us that played against Washington State the last time remember what made them good, and we’ve been working towards this all year,” she said. “Both teams are tough, fast and strong, but we feel like we might have an edge in a few areas.
“I think, because we have and continue to adapt so well in games against our opposition that we stand a good chance this weekend to win the whole thing,” she added. “The competition will be tough, but we are confident that we can do this.”
If previous success levels due to adapting are any indication, Norwich University women’s rugby fans have much to smile about this weekend and into the future.