Corrine Heavner Chooses to be Challenged

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Corrine Heavner can barely remember a time when she wasn’t playing rugby. She had stepped onto the field for the first time when she was four years old and never wanted to take a step away. “I was always drawn to rugby from the very first time I played,” she said.

Heavner values inclusivity and finds that rugby does too, making the sport all the more important to her.

“I have met so many different kinds of people through this sport. Even though we were all from the same area, we were all so different,” she said. “I love meeting new people and having to learn how to work with all different kinds of players.”

When it came time to pick a college, Heavner knew rugby was a major factor in her choice. Looking at different rugby clubs, she had to decide between teams that would make her comfortable and teams that would push her to be even better.

“I went to Penn State University because I wanted to be challenged as much as possible,” she said. “I chose to be a new player on a better team instead of a better player on a normal team. And they’ve never let me down. I’m challenged all the time, whether it’s in the weight room, or on the field, or even in school.”

Now a senior at Penn State, Heavner plans to work for a police department in New York City, after she graduates.

“I feel that no better sport or no better program or organization could have helped me more than Penn State rugby,” Heavner said. “I had to learn how to be a leader, but also how to be part of a team — how to work with people that I didn’t necessarily get along with [and still be] their sister on the field. I think that is the biggest thing that I’ve learned that I’m going to bring into my future.”

For her remaining time at Penn State, Heavner will continue to challenge herself on and off the field. On top of school and rugby, she also coaches high school teams. She always encourages her girls to continue playing in college.

“The first thing I tell these girls is that rugby is the only sport that has equal rules for men and women, so it’s super empowering,” Heavner said. “Every single person has a place on the field. No matter what your strengths are — as an athlete or as a person — your spot is needed to play rugby.”

Heavner tells the girls about a rugby team being so much more than just players on a field: rugby teams are families.

“Whether it’s my team in high school or my club team, I always have a family to go to,” Heavner revealed. “I’ve met thousands of people through rugby. The family aspect is unlike any sport or organization I have ever been in — that’s what will make you stick with it.”