Bowker, Gophers advance to final four (Rugby)

November 9, 2011

Maria Bowker

When she played basketball at Colony High School, Maria Bowker didn’t shy away from contact.

Now she initiates it.

Bowker is playing women’s rugby at the University of Minnesota.

“I love hitting girls as hard as I can and throwing out a stiff arm,” she told the team’s website. “But most of all I love my rugby family!”

That passion on the pitch has helped Minnesota advance to the semifinals of the Collegiate Women’s Division I Championships.

The Gophers beat the Notre Dame in a 17-15 thriller. Bowker plays inside center.

“I play rugby because it’s the best sport EVER,” she told the website.

Off the field, Bowker is a math major who wants to be a high school teacher when she grows up.

“I love being outdoors and having spontaneous adventures,” she said. “Hiking, camping and adventuring is how I like to spend my life when I’m not playing rugby or studying.”

Minnesota will face Ohio State in the first semifinal. Michigan and Northern Iowa square off on the other side of the bracket.