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Best Power Player 

Melissa McKibben

Rugby is still an enigma to many Americans. Players toss around something that looks like a football-volleyball hybrid. They muscle their way to the end of the field, avoid being tackled and dart under the goal posts. But they don't call it a touchdown; it's a "try." Playing an under-recognized sport in the heart of the Midwest has sure taken Melissa McKibben places. A college roommate encouraged her to try her hand — and bone density — at the bruising sport during her second year at the University of Kansas, and the Ohio native was instantly sold. In 2002, she started hitting the pitch — yeah, that's rugby for field — as center for the Kansas City Jazz rugby squad, where she has gained a reputation for training hard and inspiring fellow players. It didn't take long for this agile offense machine to start racking up Most Valuable Player awards for the Jazz and get noticed outside the Show-Me State. She has been invited to elite camps and played on all-star teams, and earlier this year she traveled to Amsterdam with the U.S. Women's 7s team. She'll keep tearing it up with the Jazz this season, but forgive her if she has to take a timeout. In addition to her other accolades, she could be called to take a slot on the U.S. Women's World Cup team. Yeah, that's rugby for International Super Bowl.

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