For Randi London '15, a disappointing start to the year turned into an unexpected opportunity.
After being cut from the women's soccer team, London joined the women's rugby team on a whim.
"I'd always been interested in it, but we didn't have it at my high school," London said, "so I thought when I came to college I might as well try and see if I like it."
Although London had no experience with rugby, her natural athletic ability soon revealed itself on the rugby pitch, leaving a striking first impression on Head Coach MaryBeth Mathews.
"I saw that she was strong, athletic, and would have some transferrable skills from soccer," Mathews said. "She was very intelligent; she picked up the game very quickly."
Though London was confused in her first match, she quickly gained confidence.
"I was so scared going into it because I thought I was going to get trampled," she said. "But once you get out there, you realize everyone else is human as well. Strong, but not scary. But I kind of just took the ball and ran with it."
London adjusted to the new sport fast, scoring in her first match at the Beantown Preseason Tournament in early September. For the season, she has scored in seven of nine matches and has two or more tries in each of her last four games.
With 12 tries this season, London is the team's leading try-scorer. She tallied two tries and two conversion kicks in last weekend's playoff game against the University of New Hampshire.
As an inside center back, London's main job is to run the ball.
"She's a really strong runner," Mathews said.
Given her lack of experience, London's success on the pitch may be surprising. But with her background in soccer and track, London is able to combine her speed and strength to become the quintessential rugby player.
"On the mental side, she plays with great confidence, developed through her mental toughness and strong work ethic from her years in track and soccer," Mathews wrote in an email to the Orient. "Physically, her years of playing soccer have ingrained a picture of the playing field in her mind's eye. Her strength as a thrower in track and field aids her confidence and ability to tackle and break tackles in rugby."
Although London's intuition has helped her run through each match, she admits that she still has more work to do to get accustomed to the fast-paced strategic side of rugby.
"Things are changing instantaneously, and you're just trying to figure out where to be and trying to realize what's happening at all times," London said. "You need to really be mentally aware the whole game."
When the indoor track season starts on November 7, London will be juggling preseason workouts for track with postseason games for rugby.
The overlap doesn't worry her, though.
"Sports are my life, practically," she said. "I just love the feeling of running and going all out and winning and succeeding."
The sports editor chooses the Athlete of the Week based on exemplary performance.