Stuck on Success

Cara Stuckey: Rookie Sensation of 2010

First-year Cara Stuckey has been a huge player in the Stinger’s recent bid to be a national champions. Photo Rob Amyot

Cara Stuckey may have dressed up as a ballerina for Halloween, but don’t let her girlish, laid-back demeanour fool you. Her notorious straight-arm has smashed into many rival faces to help the women’s rugby team reach the Canadian Interuniversity Sport National Championships.

She was born on March 21st, 1991 in Montreal but grew up about an hour southwest of the city in the small town of St. Chrysostome, QC. As the second oldest of three other siblings who all play sports, she remembers growing up in a competitive environment.

At Chateauguay Valley Regional High School, Stuckey enjoyed playing a different sport for every season. Her search for a sport to play in spring ultimately led her to try rugby for the first time in grade eight. She had no idea that her punishing runs would later become league-famous, making her an influential player for Concordia.

“Rugby was one of the biggest sports at CVR so I decided to try out, and I’ve been hooked ever since,” said Stuckey.

She would later go on to play Quebec U17 for three years, win two championships with Dawson, make the reserves for Canada U20, and has also won bronze and gold medals with the Quebec U19 team at the national championships.

“The biggest highlight of my career was definitely winning the National Championship with the Quebec U19 team last summer in Calgary. Winning a national championship, in my opinion, is almost an impossible thing to do. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when the last whistle blew. I had to look up at the scoreboard just to make sure we had actually won, and there it was—Quebec 15, Ontario 14. We had done the impossible. I have never been more proud of the 14 girls that played by my side that day,” she said.

Stuckey doesn’t consider herself an aggressive person in terms of her playing style. She prefers the term “offensive.” Still, she recognized the straight-arm to be one of her strong suits during a game this past summer.

“I’ve always had a strong straight-arm, but I played in the backs and I hit this girl in the face by accident. She just stopped, and I was gone. I scored a try and was like, ‘Wow, that works,’” she said.

“When she first tried out, she was timid. We only saw flashes of her talent,” said Concordia’s head coach Graeme McGravie. “As a rookie, she worked hard to learn the pace we play at, but in the last three games especially, she’s been probably the best player we’ve had. If she’s struggling, the team struggles. When she has a good game, the team typically has a good game.”

Stuckey said that her main inspiration is her high school friend, Hughanna Gaw, who also plays for the Stingers, and helped motivate her to get to the level she is at now. “She’s just so good. I want to be that good,” Stuckey said of her teammate.

Her dedication to the sport paid off on Friday as she scored the final try to secure the victory over Laval, definitely earning herself the title of “Rookie Sensation.”

Stuckey’s self-discipline allows her to balance a training schedule that sees her spending four nights a week either practising or in the gym. Add in a full schedule of games and time spent studying for her major in marketing, and Stuckey says she is left with almost no free time.

However, she plans to continue on with rugby for as long as she is able to—not for the fame, but because she simply cannot see her life without it. She enjoys the challenge, loves the team and most of all, loves the game.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 12, published November 2, 2010.