After playing basketball and tennis for four years and soccer for two years at Waterford High School, 2004 graduate Sylvia Braaten went to Marquette University not necessarily looking to get involved with athletics.
Then along came Organization Fest, where representatives of campus clubs and organizations share information on their organizations.
Braaten, 26, stopped at the table for the women's rugby team and was handed an information sheet.
And the rest was history.
"I showed up (for a meeting) and fell in love right away," said Braaten, who works as the strength and conditioning coordinator at Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, Minn., and also plays for the Twin City Amazons in the Women's Professional League of rugby.
She graduated from Marquette in 2008, but started with the USA Rugby program when she was 19. She played on the U19 developmental team, then moved up to U23 the following year.
Braaten went on tour with the team, which included a two-week trip to New Zealand in 2007 and remained with the development pool until April, when she was invited to participate in the Nations Cup Camp and Nations Cup Tournament with the Team USA Eagles.
It is also the first step toward the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2014 in Paris.
"I finally made the jump this year," Braaten said.
"It's a continual tryout process and your spot is not reserved. You have to perform well in league games throughout the year."
During camp in June, Braaten broke her hand, but it healed in time for her to be on the roster for the Eagles in the Nations Cup Tournament in Toronto Aug. 2-13.
Braaten got her First Cap - given to a player when she makes the roster and takes the field for the first time in international competition - at the Nations Cup. She was rostered in two games and played in one.
"It's been awesome," Braaten said.
She's back at work at Totino-Grace and she begins the WPL season with the Amazons Sept. 11 against another team from Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Minnesota Valkyries.