Kelter, Clifford join USA Sevens women’s rugby team going to China

March 31, 2014

Alev Kelter Rugby and SoccerThe last time they were teammates, Alev Kelter and Lorrie Clifford were playing flag football at Chugiak High School in 2009.

They are on the same team again, except now it’s in a different sport.

Kelter and Clifford have made the USA Sevens rugby squad that will participate in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series this week in China.

Both Alaskans are recently removed from playing college sports – Kelter did both hockey and soccer at the University of Wisconsin while Clifford played basketball at Western Oregon University.

They are among several athletes who have crossed over to rugby, which will be debuted as an Olympic sport in 2016.

Clifford was the first to join Team USA and introduced Kelter to the team’s head coach during a ski trip to Mount Alyeska in Girdwood. Kelter was invited to the Olympic Training Center in January and immediately turned heads.

No surprise.

Kelter is an amazing athlete and one of the greatest accomplished dual-sport athletes in Alaska history. She also excelled in flag football in high school.

Rugby seems perfect for her.

“When Canada came in and scrimmaged with us we threw Aleve in right away,” rugby coach Ric Suggitt told “I think the second time she touched the ball she cut through the Canadian back line and scored a try. She’s not shy about her tackling. She has good athletic ability. She’s got a great attitude.”

Kelter already has a lengthy international career representing her country. In 2008 she was named to the U.S. Women’s U-18 National Team that won a gold medal at the World Championships.

The 5-foor-7 defender also toured with the U.S. Women’s Under-17 National Team and was a standout at the 2009 Under-18 and Under-20 Women’s National Team Camp.

At Wisconsin, Kelter helped the women’s hockey team win the 2011 NCAA championship, assisting on the first goal of the game. She finished with 17-21—38 totals in 109 games with 57 penalties. In soccer, she netted 12 career goals and was named All-Big Ten.

Lorrie Clifford RugbyClifford was a four-year starter for the Western Oregon women’s basketball team, averaging a career-best 10.9 points per game as a senior.

The 5-foot-9 guard netted 20 points or more twice, including a career-best 24 points against Central Washington.

She’s known for her fabulous fitness, Clifford hardly ever coming off the court and averaged

30 minutes in each of her last three seasons.

She finished her career with 851 points, 391 rebounds and 241 assists at Western Oregon.