Lindale Alumnus Makes Rugby All-Star Team as Freshman

Photo provided by Lynsey McKinney
Lindale alumna Lynsey McKinney heads upfield with her All-Star teammates. She also recently attended a rugby camp in California.

Texas A&M freshman and Lindale alumna Lynsey McKinney was selected to play for the Texas Rugby All-Star team before being invited to attend the All-American Junior Women’s Rugby camp over Christmas break in Chula Vista, California. She began playing rugby in mid September for the 15-person team, and she has also been asked to join the seven-person team.

“Being selected for the Texas Rugby Union (TRU) All Star team was such a surreal experience,” McKinney said. “I was shocked and a little overwhelmed after finding out [I made the team] because I never expected to go this far and especially not this fast. It was quite intimidating playing with such a high caliber of players and myself only being a rookie.”

“I was shocked and a little overwhelmed after finding out [I made the team] because I never expected to go this far and especially not this fast.”

— alumnus Lynsey McKinney

Rugby has some similarities to football in that it is a contact sport and teams may kick the ball or run forward to try and score. However, players can only throw passes backward, the only allowed protection equipment is a mouthguard, and instead of scoring touchdowns by reaching the end zone, teams score a “try” by crossing what is called the “try line.”

“I was actually looking for the lacrosse club [booth],” McKinney said. “I ended up passing by the rugby booth on the way. I was just drawn to how friendly everyone was more than the sport because at that time I couldn’t tell you anything about rugby.”

After the All-Star tournament, she was approached by the USA Women’s Rugby Pathway Manager, who extended the invitation to attend the camp. Texas A&M’s rugby team is ranked second in the state.

“What really helped me have the confidence to play was the fact that my home team at A&M was so supportive,” McKinney said. “They even came to surprise me after the first match of the [All-Star] tournament. It was such a rewarding experience because not only was I able to learn from my new teammates, I was also able to build new relationships within the rugby community.”

McKinney is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences. After graduating, she plans to enlist in the US Navy and attend medical school to become an emergency room physician.

“After graduating medical school, I will complete twenty years in the service and then retire,” McKinney said. “I hope to eventually own my own practice in emergency medicine after the military.” 

McKinney had intended to use the All-Star tryout as more of a practice because there had been lots of rain in College Station, but still ended up making the team. She says she owes her success in part to her teammates.

“My home team back at Texas A&M means everything to me,” McKinney said. “They have supported me every step of the way, and they continue to bring out the best in me. I could never have gotten this far without them, and I cannot thank them enough.”