Senior Anne Kelekolio has been a consistent starter for the Golden Rams after joining the team in her freshman year. She has started in all five matches this season.
Since joining as a walk-on player halfway through her freshman season, Kelekolio has played lock and prop for the Golden Rams.
“I’ve grown insanely from just watching the game when I first joined to actually understanding it,” Kelekolio said.
Through her growth, she has cemented herself as a key part of the team.
The game wouldn’t be the same without her, she serves a crucial role on the team.
“She came on the team without being very fit and not having any rugby knowledge, to now being the strongest and fittest of us all,” senior Vanesa Hasanhodzic said.
Kelekolio is in what she likes to call “rugby fit.”
She works hard to be a better player every day, and that is shown through her improvement throughout the years. She is now consistently good at everything.
“Besides being a technically sound forward in the scrums and line-outs, Anne just does everything well,” head coach Anthony DeRemer said.
Kelekolio is currently the tallest member of the team at 5’10”. She is one of few on the team able to do a one-man lift.
“She was a little intimidating at first, but once I got to know her that quickly changed,” junior Ellie O’Mara, who joined just this year, said.
Her style of play is consistent and aggressive; she runs hard for every play. She has grit and determination.
“She flips a switch and becomes a beast when the whistle blows,” Hasanhodzic said. “As soon as it’s over she’s the most humble and courteous person.”
She makes her opponents fight for every inch with her aggressive offense and “up-in-your-face” defense.
She has two career tries but has set up countless plays, including a hard run and beautiful offload in the team’s first game against the University of New Haven to get senior Erica Arnold space to score her first try of the season and the third try of the match.
She is a key player on the offense. Every run she has with the ball, she gains ground for the Golden Rams. When she is tackled, she always gets good body position and ball placement.
“As a coach, these are the basic skills you want your players to perform on a regular basis and Anne does that, everytime,” DeRemer said.
She has been a key player and will continue to be a key player in the next game against Davenport University (DU).
Kelekolio and the Golden Rams will travel to Wheeling, West Virginia on Nov. 5 to take on DU in the final game of the regular season. If the Golden Rams finish first or second, they will host the semifinals on Nov. 12.
If the Golden Rams are successful in the semifinals, they will move on to the championship game on Nov. 19 which will be in New Hampshire, hosted by Dartmouth College.
Ty Hickey is a second-year media and culture major with a minor in Chinese.