Skip to Content

Athlete of the Week: Ellie Villnow

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

Ellie Villnow is signing her letter of intent to play collegiately at Lindenwood University in Missouri.

The sports she's signing up to play however, may surprise you.

"I've been playing softball since I was little," said Villnow. "(But) I thought a change of pace may be fun. When I heard that rugby was more rough and that you could tackle people, it seemed really fun!"

Villnow had made her choice, she wanted to play rugby. There was just one problem.

"I had no idea what it was, " recalled Villnow laughing. "My dad even bought a book called, Rugby for Dummies and we just jumped right into it when we first decided that I wanted to play. I pretty much jumped into the entire thing knowing nothing."

However, as it turned out, she was a natural.

"She really learned quickly," said Carrie Diamond, the head coach of the Panthers Rugby Club at SPASH. "She got the hang of it and just went out there and played her heart out every game."

Villnow turned into a superstar.

She won numerous awards including: being named to the Wisconsin High School Girls Rugby League All-State team in 2019, being named the MVP in each of the last two state championship tournaments for the Wisconsin High School Girls Rugby League and being named First Team Prop on the Badgers selects Rugby team.

Despite all those being individual awards, she'll be the first to tell you she didn't do it alone.

"I actually have a disability. I'm deaf in my left ear," said Villnow. "But I have good teammates that will help me. The girls I'm with in this game are just so understanding and cooperative and they're just the best girls I've ever met."

A kinship that is just one of many reasons why Villnow hopes she can inspire other young girls to try the sport.

"I think girls should play this sport because it really unleashes stuff in them that they never thought they had," said Villnow. "It just gives you that sense of strength, that you can really do anything."

Alex Stewart

Skip to content