Globetrotting prop `honoured’

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Shilo Shalosky had never heard of the game she loves until just a few years ago.
The 25-year-old has been in Oamaru since April, and is playing for the Otago Spirit rugby team in the Farah Palmer Cup provincial competition.
Before that, she was one of North Otago’s best performing players and helped her side make the final of the Otago women’s club competition, which it lost to University.
Born in Aschaffenburg, Germany, to American parents, Shalosky is from a military family, and has also called Washington, D.C, Georgia, Kansas and Texas home.
However, she identifies Florida as her home state.
“I lived there for seven years. We moved there when I was 14 and left when I was 21.”
She moved to Oamaru to enhance her rugby skills.
Shalosky took up the sport at the University of South Florida.
“I was on campus and I was walking through the grounds in front of one of the class buildings and these women wearing funny-looking shorts and aviator glasses threw this oval ball at me.
“I caught it and they said, `Play rugby’, so I did. I went out and fell in love with it at my first practice, and have done everything I can to play ever since.”
Shalosky, a prop, said the style of rugby played in New Zealand differed a lot from that in the US in terms of its speed and physical intensity.
“It’s definitely a different style of rugby as a whole. It’s a lot of fun and challenging for me.
“The North Otago women have really been like a family to me. They’ve been incredibly welcoming.”
Shalosky described being selected for Otago as the pinnacle of her career so far.
“I was unbelievably stoked. Being out here, playing rugby in New Zealand, was already a dream come true and to be selected for a province … I don’t have adequate words for how honoured I am. It’s an incredible opportunity.”
She made her debut against Manawatu in Palmerston North in a 32-5 loss, and the Spirit followed that up last weekend with a 69-24 loss to Canterbury.
However, that has not dented her confidence or determination.
“Every time you take to the field, it’s a test of your spirit, dedication to the team and your resilience.”
Shalosky will leave the country in late September or early October to rejoin her former side, the Denver-based Glendale Raptors, who are seeking their third straight US women’s title.
She said women’s rugby was growing in the US and was strong in pockets such as the northeast and west coast.
Her dream is to represent her country.
“That would be awesome, but I really just want to play as much as I can and be the best player I can be. This experience has been one of the best of my career and it will hopefully open up a … world of possibilities for me.”