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Judkins chasing Olympic dream
Former Lady Pioneer on U.S. rugby team
Warren Countys Lauren Judkins competes while playing rugby for Lee University in Cleveland. Judkins was picked to be a member of Team USA this weekend, and is traveling to Florida and then to France in a journey she began in 2015.
It takes the heart of a true champion to overcome adversity, be part of a successful new program and get picked to play on the Olympic team of elite players who will make up the next roster heading to the women’s rugby World Cup in four years and possibly compete in the Olympics.Warren County’s rugby program has produced such a player in Lauren Judkins.“She has taught me as much as I have her,” said Warren County Lady Pioneer high school rugby coach George Smartt. “She has the rare combination of talent and tenacity of a true champion who will always be successful in life.”Smartt coached the team in its successful bid for a state championship in 2016, making it the first team to win a state title in Warren County since the Pioneer baseball team won in 1992.As a senior in high school, Judkins was the first team captain in the fledgling sport of rugby, new to Warren County just two years prior in 2015, coached by Brian Kelsey. She was the leader of the Lady Pioneers out on the field and by example.