Athlete of the Week: Sydney Long

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By Elise Person

Staff Writer

Women’s rugby’s sophomore forward, Sydney Long plays an important role as one of the team’s top players. The team won their last game of the fall season, over Molloy College with 27-12, and Long led the team in tackles and scored a try. Long also scored tries in three other games throughout the season.

The rugby team finished their fall season with an overall record of 2-6. Long says it was a “growing season” for the team as it was the first time in program history they were able to play 15 vs. 15 competitions. She also mentioned the younger members of the team, as there are only six upperclassmen out of 18 players. Long said it took some time for the team to work through different concepts and to come together.

However, Long is very proud of how the team united towards the end of the fall season. “At the end, we finally pulled it together and we worked really hard and we did really well our last three competitions,” she said.

The LIU rugby team is not a member of the NCAA, rather they are a part of the NIRA, the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association. Because of this, when the university announced the merger be-tween NCAA Division I and Division II, it did not directly affect the rugby team. However, Long says their team has felt positive impacts of the university’s move to Division I. “We get the prospects of the upgraded athletic training room, obviously the money for scholarships, and the money for new gear,” she said. “So that was a really big help this year.”

Long, a Tennessee native, came to Long Island to work towards pursuing a career in the FBI. “I want to be in the FBI, and I thought that the biggest police hub, in my mind, was in New York. So, I knew I wanted to come up north and be as close to a big hub as possible,” she said. Long said that rugby brought her to LIU, but the FBI was the long-term goal she had in mind.

Long started playing rugby late in life. Having played her first year of rugby as a junior in high school, she said it wasn’t until October of her senior year that she actually began to think about pursuing a collegiate rugby career. However, even with coming in very late in the recruiting process, Long said she “made it work.”

Looking towards the spring rugby season, the game format will switch to 7 vs. 7, leaving eight of the fall’s previous starters on the bench. “Not everyone’s gonna get to start now. So, I think a big thing for us is just continuing being a family and not let that divide come between us,” Long said.

Academically, Long is currently undergoing the process of obtaining a summer internship with the FBI at either a location close to her home in Tennessee or at their home base in Quantico, V.A.

Looking toward the future, Sydney Long has big goals. In the short-term future, those goals include a successful spring season with the rugby team and a call back from the FBI.

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