RugbyMag's choice for 2013 Women's College 7s Player of the Year might not be a surprise. Audiences that tuned into USA Rugby's webcast of the College 7s Championship watched Rose Bernheim stutter-step her way to a third consecutive title and MVP nod. But we like the Norwich captain for more reasons than her fancy feet; she's an overall inspiring player and reiterated that fact in 2013.
Norwich doesn't play 7s regularly (although that will change this spring), so the senior sought out opportunities. She booted up with the Combined Military Selects at the Las Vegas Invitational, competing in the Elite division against players who represented their countries in the Rugby World Cup Sevens. In between 15s seasons, Bernheim rejoined the military all-star team at the Club 7s Nationals. And, as mentioned, the tenacious sweeper led the Cadets to a college 7s title (two weeks before claiming the first-ever ACRA DI 15s championship).
That tenacious nature pervades Bernheim's play. At 5’3”, she’s always one of the smallest players on the pitch. She’s shifty, has great control of her momentum, and fights through every contact point. But she plays sweeper for a reason – she’s as sure as they come in the tackle, and the vantage point helps her guide her teammates in front of her.
“As a player, she has attacked every aspect of the game with passion and commitment,” Norwich coach Austin Hall said. “Wherever we discover a weakness in her play, she invests her full intensity toward improvement. Growing from speedy try-scorer to complete-package fullback in three years, her final collegiate opus was in the area of leadership. As a captain and leader of our team, she has developed an emotional intelligence and understanding of human/team dynamics that is well beyond her years.”
Bernheim is an example off of the field as well. She’s maintained a near perfect GPA over four years and is a Company Commander in the Norwich Corps of Cadets. She is ranked #1 in her graduating class of 108 men and women, and she will be commissioned in the U.S. Army, Military Intelligence, this summer.
“Rose shines in many aspects of her life,” Hall added. “Her smile and work rate inspire us all to shine in ours.”