The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

UWEC women’s club rugby wins Division ll National Collegiate Rugby Championship

Group dynamics helped women’s rugby win nationals
The team hoists up the trophy after defeating Roger Williams 22-5 in the championship match. (Photo from UWEC Women’s Club Rugby)

UW-Eau Claire women’s club rugby is victorious once again. After winning the Division ll National Collegiate Rugby Championship in the fall Nationals 15s season and are back on top with the Division ll title in the National 7s. The Blugolds have won two championships in three years.

The Blugolds competed in the Rugby 7s Nationals April 26-28 in Washington D.C which consisted of a plethora of Division l talent and highly skilled teams. Division ll tournament MVP and all-tournament team Kloee Chamberlain thought the Blugolds were well prepared for the tournament.

“This season we actually played probably more rugby than we have in other seasons,” Chamberlain said. 

The Blugolds opened the tournament with a statement win over Syracuse University winning 19-7 and would end up defeating Grand Valley State in the quarterfinal matchup 15-12. The Blugolds scored on the last play of the game to advance to the Semifinals. 

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The Blugolds had a steady offense and were able to switch their offensive looks throughout the tournament to remain effective.

“We got a good structure in place. It doesn’t always have to look the same. They have abilities to stay creative and have fun and really take spaces when they have it,” Coach Derek Wagner said.

Playing 7s season instead of the full 15 players on the field brings a different look of play. Forward Calla Dexheimer acknowledged the players on the team who have made the team’s offense the way it is.

“Our forwards who open up a lot of room for our fast backs to score,” Dexheimer said. “We have some fast forwards who can run through contact extremely well and open up lots of opportunities for our speedier players.”

Having the forwards set up the players who can get into open space and create scoring opportunities helped propel the team into the Semifinals where they would face Temple University. 

The Blugolds were down 10 in the first three minutes but competed and battled back to a 15-10 win to advance to the championship match. Emma Hamilton and Chamberlain helped propel the Blugolds to a victory with 10 and 5 points respectively. 

Wagner was impressed with how his team responded to the fight the Blugolds had to compete.

“They just have this ability to be able to fight until the last minute. They all are really together as a group fighting for the same goal, they don’t stop,” Wagner said. “They have this attitude of an unwillingness fuel that is really amazing to see and be a part of.”

The Blugolds had a tall task on hand as they had to face Roger Williams University in the Championship match. Roger Williams won the last 7s championships and a team the Blugolds have faced in the past.

As soon as the clock started on the game, the Blugolds did not look back and dominated, winning 22-5. The Blugolds’ versatile offensive scheme induced 5 different scorers and a balanced attack that overwhelmed Roger Williams.

After another national championship, the players and coach reflected on the team and the culture that has been built here in Eau Claire.

“Winning culture comes from the players,” Wagner said. “They all work really hard in practice and welcome everyone. Really having competitive people that have played sports before in high school.”

“We had a lot of new people come in this year so we really wanted to welcome them to 7s and show them how it can be fun,” Dexheimer said.

The Blugolds, with a lot of seniors leaving, have a youth wave that knows how to win and can learn from a strong culture here at UW-Eau Claire.

Benes can be reached at [email protected].

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