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Daughter of Am Samoa graduates from CWU with prestigious rugby honor

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele not only made headlines for Central Washington University (CWU) in the sport of rugby — she received a Washington Athletic Club trophy and was recognized as one of the two best collegiate rugby players in the country.

She was a tighthead prop for Central Washington University, already capped by the USA and, most recently, captain of the USA U23s, captained CWU this season and was the central figure in a strong forward effort, said her coach Matt Ramirez. CWU recorded an incredible 26 stolen scrums this season, much of that due to Sagapolu.

She received her MA Sorensen Award directly from Maryann Sorensen herself. Sorensen, who propped for the USA when they won the Rugby World Cup in 1991, was delighted to honor a fellow front-rower, and Sagapolu received huge cheers as she is also the first Washington state resident to win the award. It was also her graduation day, and Sagapolu received her diploma before speeding off from Ellensburg to Seattle to attend the WAC event.

Sagapolu is going to be moving to England to play with the new Leicester club in the Women’s Premier League.