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Brainerd Phenom Charlier Accepts Rugby Scholarship

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- We brought you the story last month of Lili Charlier, who is a Brainerd High School senior with many talents.

She plays on the football team, she's a state champion weight lifter and she's an accomplished ukulele player.

Her story caught the eyes of the Tucker Center at the University of Minnesota. Somebody there knew a women's rugby coach at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and sent her the story. She took one look at Charlier's highlights and reached out.

"She messaged me on Facebook and I thought it was like a joke. I thought it was like a club for rugby and I was like, 'Oh, no, I don't want to do that,'" Charlier said.

But the more Charlier listened, the more she liked what she was hearing.

Lili Charlier
Lili Charlier (credit: CBS)

"And she's like, 'And there'd be a scholarship involved,' and I was said, 'I mean, I've never been to Connecticut so why not?'" Charlier said. "They flew me out this last past weekend and it was awesome."

And she says it felt like home. Charlier was offered and accepted an athletic scholarship to Quinnipiac.

In the meantime, she will work on her music and her lifting. She already holds a number of school records.

"All the power lifts, she could dominate," said strength coach Chet Stevenson.

When people look at Charlier, they see a big smile and a big personality. What they don't know is that she has struggled with depression.

But thanks to a twist of fate, she is very much looking forward to brighter days ahead.

"When this opportunity came about, I was like, there's definitely a future for me, and I got excited," Charlier said. "I still struggle with [depression], but little things like this that keep happening make me realize, like, your life is worth so much more and things do get better."

And because of that, Charlier says she wants to major in psychology at Quinnipiac, which has won two consecutive national rugby titles.

The coach wants Charlier to be in the middle of the rugby scrum. Charlier also plans to throw shot put for Quinnipiac's track team.

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