Jayla Twitty, an 18-year-old from Cincinnati, Ohio, majoring in elementary education, is one of many new faces of the women’s rugby team at Alderson Broaddus University. Ahead of her collegiate athletic career, Twitty won two state championships, accomplished an undefeated season for her high school team, traveled halfway across the world to play rugby, and was recognized as one of the best female rugby athletes in the country.
Twitty began her rugby career in high school, crediting an encouraging teacher for her involvement in a sport she later came to love. “I got involved with rugby by being nudged into it. A teacher at my school handed me a flyer for a new athletic team and told me to show up to practice,” said Twitty. “I fell in love with the sport in the first practice—ever since then, I have been playing nonstop.”
The summer leading into her freshman year at Alderson Broaddus University, Twitty became a member of the Midwest Thunderbirds High School Rugby team, hopped on a plane, and flew more than 3,000 miles for the opportunity of a lifetime. Along with the future stars of USA Rugby from Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Twitty participated in a ten-day rugby tour in Ireland which featured three matches against top-class opposition, top-class training sessions, and an exclusive tour of the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
As a USA Rugby All-American and a member of the Thunderbirds, Twitty said she gained integral insight into what it takes to transition from high school to collegiate sports. “Playing with the Thunderbirds in Ireland introduced me to a whole new level of competition and dedication to the sport,” said Twitty. “Battling against teams with years of experience showed me how much I still have to learn and how much room I have to grow.”
Laura Miller, head coach of men’s and women’s rugby at AB, alongside assistant coaches John Baker and Amelie Poulin, began recruiting Twitty after watching her play in a tournament for Walnut Hills High School. Coach Miller recognized Twitty as an up-and-coming name in rugby and received recommendations from her high school coaches.
Twitty said she chose Alderson Broaddus because of her confidence in the team’s leadership and the fit for her needs as a student-athlete. “When I started looking at colleges, I decided I needed to attend a smaller school so that I could concentrate on my studies in an environment with fewer distractions. Not many small schools had rugby; AB did. Because of rugby, I constantly hold myself to a higher standard. You have to trust that the team will do what needs to be done for everyone to be successful.”
Twitty first visited Alderson Broaddus University’s campus in January and committed to becoming a Battler the following spring.
“We are thrilled that Jayla chose AB to continue her rugby career. Athletes like Jayla, who seek out challenging new experiences, exemplify the qualities we look for in our athletes, said Coach Miller. “Jayla comes to AB with a strong rugby background; we are excited for her to grow alongside her teammates as we debut our women’s rugby program this year.”
The women’s rugby team are set to play their inaugural tournament on November 3. Go, Battlers!
About Alderson Broaddus University
Alderson Broaddus (AB) University is a private, four-year institution of higher education located on a historic hilltop in Barbour County in Philippi, West Virginia. Since its founding in 1871, AB has been a leader and innovator in higher education, with accolades in the health and natural sciences.
The mission of AB is to provide students with the highest quality education, striving to prepare students to succeed in their chosen disciplines and to fulfill their roles in a diverse society as well-rounded and responsible citizens.