Atascocita High School freshman Dasia Recio plays for the Lake Houston Rugby Club and has been selected as a member of the prestigious Atlantis Rugby 18U team at the Las Vegas Invitational Rugby Tournament.

Atlantis Rugby is dedicated to the growth and development of high school boys and girls who play the sevens version of rugby in the U.S. The tournament will take place March 2-4 and is considered the premier U.S. amateur rugby event. The tournament features athletes and match-ups across a wide range of rugby divisions and age groups, and is the largest rugby tournament in North America. The USA Sevens international rugby tournament is held at the same time, giving high school players like Dasia exposure to matches of the top rugby nations around the world.

The tournament is also the first stop on the 2017 North American High School Series (nahs7s.com). The Atlantis team competes both nationally and internationally, and they typically enter two 12-player teams – elite and open – into each tournament. In Las Vegas, Recio will be playing for the 18U girls open team, which is the developmental team. Atlantis looks for open team players who are younger girls with vast potential, and provides them with expert coaching and experience to help them one day advance to elite team play.

“Dasia came recommended to us by her local club coach, Josh Dill. We selected her based on her background in other sports, her athleticism, speed and coachability,” explained Wayne DiMarco, director of the Atlantis 18U girls team. Dasia is the only female rugby player in Texas to be chosen for the Atlantis team.”

Dill further explained that Recio was chosen because of her versatility as a player; she plays both back and forward positions, serving as a wing and hooker, a term for the rugby player responsible for putting the ball into play from the starting scrum. The hooker is usually one of the fittest and most versatile players on the team.

Lake Houston Rugby Club recruits players from the Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita and surrounding areas in an effort to raise community awareness about the sport and to recruit the tremendous athletic talent in the area. Recio’s teammates couldn’t be more proud that she is representing them in Las Vegas. They say she is quiet and reserved off the field, but fearless when she is on the field. Many of the girls are seniors, and are happy to have a quality freshman player such as Recio to carry the team forward.

The game of sevens is played by seven players per team in seven-minute halves. Since it is played on the same full-size field as the more well-known game of rugby, 15s, the game of sevens is much more fast-paced and much more physically demanding of players. Sevens has increased in worldwide popularity of late, and was voted into the Summer Olympic Games for 2016 and 2020. 

Recio certainly has the athletic ability that DiMarco referred to. Her dad, Derek Recio, said Recio played football in seventh and eighth grade at Atascocita Middle School. 

“She was the kicker, and she wanted to play football in high school, but I was worried about her getting hurt, so I told her she couldn’t play,” explained Mr. Recio. 

Dasia said she was “really upset” about her dad’s decision, but when registering for freshman classes at Atascocita High, she and her mom, Patricia, saw the rugby recruiting table and talked to some of the players. 

“I had heard about rugby, but I didn’t know very much about it. It sounded fun, so I thought I would give it a try,” Dasia explained.

Dasia’s parents are “extremely proud” of her, and they say it is “such an honor” that she’s been selected for the elite team. Dasia says that she is “really excited about the tournament.” She has never been to Las Vegas and is looking forward to the trip with her mom. 

“I don’t really miss football anymore. I like rugby much better!”

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