From the NAIA to the World Stage: The Story of Kate Zackary
In the world of sports, few stories are as inspiring as those of athletes who rise from humble beginnings to conquer the highest levels of competition. One such story is that of rugby player Kate Zackary, whose journey from the NAIA to rugby stardom serves as a testament to dedication, talent, and the power of chasing one's dreams.
Hailing from a small town of Garden City, Kansas, Zackary's introduction to rugby came during her college years at Benedictine College. After initially playing soccer on a scholarship, she was exposed to rugby for the first time.
It was here that her passion for the sport ignited, fueled by the camaraderie of her teammates and the thrill of competition. The NAIA rugby scene was the perfect breeding ground for Zackary's nascent talent. Her raw athleticism and relentless work ethic caught the attention of coaches and scouts.
The transition from the NAIA to the international stage was not without its challenges. Zackary faced more established competitors, many of whom hailed from top rugby nations with robust development systems.
She debuted for the United States Sevens team in 2010 and won the silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Since 2016, she has made 28 appearances for the US National Team as a Back Row. She currently plays for the Exeter Chiefs who compete in the Allianz Premier 15s, the top tier of professional rugby in England.
However, her NAIA roots instilled in her a grit and determination that set her apart. She quickly became known for her unyielding defense, powerful tackles, and exceptional leadership on and off the field.
Zackary's rise to the professional level not only showcased her individual journey but also highlighted the potential that can be unlocked when athletes from non-traditional backgrounds are given the opportunity to shine. Her story serves as an inspiration to aspiring rugby players everywhere, demonstrating that with dedication, perseverance, and the right support, anyone can overcome obstacles and achieve greatness.