MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis Girls Rugby team at Freedom Prep Academy has achieved another milestone.
The team’s already won two state championships and was featured in a Nike campaign seen around the world. Now, the spotlight centers on a senior player and a prestigious accomplishment.
Freedom Prep Senior Carlicia Beam knows the date and hour her life changed forever.
“I got my acceptance letter on March 28 at like 7 p.m.,” Beam said.
In just a few months, Beam will trade in Memphis barbecue for New England clams after receiving a full scholarship to play rugby at Dartmouth College, an Ivy League School in New Hampshire.
“I knew that it was something that I probably would not accomplish,” Beam said. “Now that it’s real, it’s like mind-blowing.”
It’s especially mind-blowing because just three years ago, Beam knew nothing about rugby.
"Carlicia is so special and she for us is just the example and the heart of what is possible and the dream that we started with,” said Shane Young.
Young co-founded Memphis Inner City Rugby seven years ago with hopes of providing expanded academic and athletic opportunities for kids in low-income communities.
Now, MICR has 10 teams with 200 participants at 8 schools. Junior Erica Cathey was just honored by the Memphis Business Journal as one of 25 "Girls Who Mean Business.”
"I love them dearly, and I’m going to be really sad when Carlicia goes off to college,” Cathey said.
Freedom Prep is preparing for a lot of goodbyes. For the third year in a row, 100 percent of the graduating class has been accepted to four-year colleges and universities.
"I would say being from Freedom Prep, we get like a lot of hard curriculum, I feel like being able to juggle all of that work on top of playing sports, it’s like the most important thing for us since we’re student athletes... student comes first,” said player Niva Bailey.
As Beam takes her first step toward a dream come true, she has an entire team and community rooting for her.
“She has a big future in front ahead of her and I’m very proud of her,” said player Nadia Burton. “I can’t wait to see what she does after this.”
Beam said she has dreams of playing professional rugby before going to medical school to be a surgeon. She heads to Dartmouth in August for training.