Women’s Rugby: better than ever

Coming off a champion season with more strength and determination than ever
The team practices, preparing for even more success.
The team practices, preparing for even more success.
Photo by Mady Leick

The UW-Eau Claire Women’s Rugby Team is among the most successful teams on campus after winning the National Collegiate Rugby Division II National Championship.

“It was pretty crazy to be a part of that,” Khloee Chamberlain, fourth-year team captain, said.

Players, like third-year student Cery Ridd are more than thrilled with the previous success.

“Last year was definitely a high point when things started clicking together,” Ridd said.

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The team has come to more success beyond nationals. Chamberlain said last season they also won the Great Lakes Conference, adding onto an already successful year.

“It was just so crazy, because we had never played anything like this and we worked really hard. It felt good to win,” Chamberlain said. Coming off a successful year, Lange says the team hopes to become even stronger.

According to head coach Derek Wagner, the team’s goal is to get better every day. 

Coach Rachel Lange said that with the loss of a large senior class and a lot of new players, the start of the season has been “chaotic” with the focus on improving. 

Women’s Rugby practices three times a week on Bollinger Field. Girls practice drills, and go over plays. You wouldn’t know by looking at them, but they are an incredibly powerful team. 

As Wagner stated, the team started off the year gaining a few new players, making growth a key part of the season.  

“Positivity and being inclusive are the focus as practices have been happening,” Wagner said.

This is going hand and hand with hard work, as Ridd said “preparation has been lots of practice time with conditioning and injury prevention. All of this preparation has helped the team starting the year strong.”They started off the season with a success, beating Michigan Technological University with a score of 130-0 on Sept. 17. Lange said this blowout game is proof of the team’s growth. 

“They look better than last year, we are pretty excited,” Lange said. 

Chamberlain said their growth is due to a number of factors.

“We all show up, we have good numbers and a lot of practice. We all work hard and we have really good coaches that can teach us how to play good rugby,” Chamberlain said.

Lange put it as collaboration, along with hard work are key components of the team’s success. With all of this working together, Wagner said it gives the team a lot of hope for the season. 

“Try not to think too far ahead (and) keep within ourselves game by game,” Wagner said. 

Wagner said the mentality seems to be the key to the team’s success. There seems to be a lot of anticipation building as the season continues.

“They are really dedicated, have a really good time, they work hard and push each other to be better,” Lange said, “and seeing them all together on the field. I love watching them play, watching them learn and grow.”  

The UW Eau-Claire Women’s Rugby team have a full season ahead of them, playing at Northern Michigan University on Sept. 23 and against Marquette Univeristy in Eau Claire on Sept. 30. 

Leick can be reached at [email protected].

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