East Coast native finds passion in rugby after moving to Arizona

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One East Coast native tried all kinds of sports growing up before she left Boston to come to Arizona and found her athletic passion in Ruby. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) One East Coast native tried all kinds of sports growing up before she left Boston to come to Arizona and found her athletic passion in Ruby. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Growing up in Boston, McKayla Dillingham was a nonstop athletic engine. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Growing up in Boston, McKayla Dillingham was a nonstop athletic engine. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Some athletes love to dabble. They'll try numerous sports before they find the one they enjoy playing.

One East Coast native tried all kinds of sports growing up before she left Boston to come to Arizona and found her athletic passion in Ruby.

Growing up in Boston, McKayla Dillingham was a nonstop athletic engine.

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"I played cheerleading and I did 13 years of figure skating and a couple years of soccer and everything in between," said Dillingham.

Now 23, Dillingham still has that competitive juice flowing, suiting up for the Tempe Ninjas rugby team.

"Rugby has made me a more dynamic thinker and a more dynamic player," said Dillingham. "That's why I appreciate the sport so much."

Holding a deep affection, McKayla has found a kinship within the sport.

"It was the fact that there was [sic] so many women that wanted to do the same thing that I wanted to do," said Dillingham. "Be uplifted by a bunch of other women who have a common goal of winning."

Dillingham started her rugby career as a freshman at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. Eventually, heading west, she played her final three seasons on ASU's club team.

When she first put on the cleats, it was a shock to her parents.

 "They lost it," said Dillingham. "My dad was happy because he didn't have to attend any more cheerleading competitions but my mom was so worried what happened to her petite little girl.  

"Then she saw her first game and she was like, 'wow you're a force to be reckoned with,'" said Dillingham.

Dillingham is a wrecking machine. She is committed to the process and it has helped broaden her horizons.

"Before, I was single-minded, a single-sport player," said Dillingham. "I wasn't team oriented but coming on to rugby, you have to rely on fourteen other people to get to the same goal that we all want to get to and that's the try."

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