Women’s Rugby Places Second In State

Women's Rugby falls to St. Joseph's Academy becoming Division II state runner-ups during first season as a full team.

Rachel Elson ('15), sophomore Samira Colbert and sophomore Jaliyah Whitmore play in a game against St. Joesph's Academy.

Bob Elson

Rachel Elson ('15), sophomore Samira Colbert and sophomore Jaliyah Whitmore play in a game against St. Joesph's Academy.

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Women’s rugby finished second in the state. The Raiders fell to St. Joseph’s Academy 30-5 at the Division II state championships in Hudson.

The team’s number and success has increased since last year, when the club was created by Rachel Elson (‘15).

“I think it’s changed a lot. As we got more players our attitude became more serious because we had better and better chances of really succeeding,” Elson said.

In order to compete as an official team there need to be at least fifteen players. This season was the first with enough players to officially form a team. Last year, the team had to forfeit their games and borrow players from the opposing team.

“People get really excited and into the sport once they start playing. I was constantly talking about [rugby] and asking people to come to practice and I assume the other returning players did the same.” said Elson.” I felt like the team was much more official and there was more support for us generally this season.”

I think that seeing other girls playing and seeing that they didn’t die or get seriously injured helped. People always think that in rugby you get massive injuries every game but that’s just not true if you’re doing it right.”

— Sheila Scanlon

Senior Taylar Bell agrees that the atmosphere has changed.“It’s more of a team. We had around twenty people, we always had a full team every game this year. Last year we had people who were interested but afraid to play,” Bell said in a text interview.

“I think that seeing other girls playing and seeing that they didn’t die or get seriously injured helped. People always think that in rugby you get massive injuries every game but that’s just not true if you’re doing it right,”junior Sheila Scanlon said.

Assistant Coach Peter Brown said that though rugby is viewed as a dangerous sport it is also very controlled. “Once you show people that rugby is not so scary, it’s easy to get the girls to play,” Brown said in an email interview.

Shaker was undefeated this year, excluding two losses to St. Joseph’s Academy, one in the regular season and one at the state championships.

“The team has not only grown in numbers but is a tougher and more determined team,” Bell said.

Brown attributes the success to the team’s ability to grasp the game and trust each other. “This was the first time many of them played rugby and for some even a sport, and they just absorbed the coaching,” Brown said. “They’ve learned a lot about the game and how to trust each other, how to trust that the person beside them is going to do what needs to be done.”

“I think what gave us an edge is that we had all these new players and had spent months playing together and getting to know each other and learning the game side by side. So we’re pretty close as friends, which I think is important in order to find success on the field. Another thing is that we have a huge diversity of body types, so we never relied just on one kind of play,’ Elson said.

The team lost four seniors at the end of the school year.

“The only way we’re going to overcome the losses is for the girls to keep recruiting and to keep the team growing,” Brown said.

The players are optimistic about the team’s number increasing and next years success.

“Next year is going to be great. Our players will be more experienced, our number will be bigger,” said sophomore Samira Colbert. “We already have recruits from the middle school, and the high school.”

“Our goals are to be more physically fit as a team, as well as to be more unified; with those two things I can see us bringing home states next year,” Scanlon said.

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