Coach Alena “Leni” Porte
Active player with San Jose Seahawks and Central Coast Beachdogs. Still living in Salinas.
2. What is your best memory of CSUMB Rugby?
So many! That first year (2012-2013) with the few and the mighty who made it happen was so exciting (Nancy Her, Shar Mariano, Ryan Scott, Alexis Carranco, Emily Louis and others!) and then to watch it grow from there has been just spectacular.
3. What would you say were your greatest athletic, academic accomplishments and/or coaching accomplishments during your time with CSUMB Rugby?
That the team is still going, and only getting stronger, and to know that I was a part of creating a strong foundation for women’s rugby at CSUMB.
4. How would you describe the CSUMB rugby environment while you were involved? For example socially and/or competitively etc?
I like to think that as a female coach working with male team mates/ coaches to restart the men’s team, that we created an environment where both men and women were comfortable practicing and being together on the pitch, which I think has carried over to today. Also, I really focused my coaching on enjoyment of the game over winning, and on not just respecting opponents but connecting with them socially which I believe is something that makes this sport unique. The team culture – shared between the men and women’s teams – was very supportive. For the women, there was this great relationship with Fresno State, who allowed us to join with them since we had only 6 players or so.
5. What piece of advice would you have for current CSUMB ruggers? Academically or rugby-related?
Rugby is the greatest teacher of time management – get your business done so you can get to practices. Health of body and spirit will only strengthen your academics. On the pitch – strive for that perfect balance of mind, body, and soul and you’ll find the flow. Love your opponents and the ref – without them there is no game. Stay calm, cool and collected on the pitch and in life.
6. If you can recall, why did you choose to join CSUMB Rugby?
Ryan Scott reached out to me and Lui Ma’aola to coach at CSUMB – he was pulling together a men’s club after years of no rugby on campus. A few ladies trickled out to practice with the men and there was interest in starting a women’s side so I began to focus on them.
7. How did your athletic involvement aid in the path that you chose following graduation?
To be honest not much. I learned a lot from rugby, and still do, but I chose my career in outdoor education because I have always loved nature and being outside, and I was good with kids. One good thing though is that outdoor educators understand playing hard, and my occasional black eye doesn’t cause issues at work 🙂