Active since 2012, the St. Olaf women’s rugby club has been steadily working its way to victory. The team does not have an official coach and has lost many key players due to graduation and study abroad. However, they have remained active thanks to the sheer dedication and passion of the players. The hard work they put into becoming their own coaches has truly paid off this semester after winning the Women’s Plate within the consolation bracket of the Minnesota Rugby Union’s All Minnesota Sevens tournament on April 30.
In true underdog fashion, St. Olaf emerged as the winners despite a rocky start of three losses.
Social Chair Tenzing Sakya ’22 described the tournament as “pretty intense seeing as how it was our first games for several months. The first three games were rough, with very close losses to North Dakota State University (NDSU), Gustavus Adolphus’s A team and Bemidji State. However, in the last two games we were able to come back and beat Gustavus A and B for a 2-3 record overall!”
One of the team’s captains, Abigail Prom ’22, said, “It was a lot of fun. It was also kind of emotional, as it was like one of our last games as a senior, but I think we played really well. It’s a lot of fun being on this rugby team.”
Prom was all smiles as she told me how she ended up joining the team. “Somebody from my hometown told me to join the rugby team before I got to Olaf because they’re really a good group of people and I thought it was a good way to stay active and a good way to make a lot of friends in my freshman year, like that’s definitely where I’d be,” Prom said.
“As a freshman who never played rugby before, I had no idea what I was getting into. Literally I knew nothing about the game, and everyone was like ‘it’s kind of dangerous.’ I had no idea,” Sakya said. “Starting my freshman year I kind of lacked confidence and then over my time playing and all, I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my skill level and in the game and being able to be a leader on the team.”
At the moment, the team is made up mostly of first time rugby players, so the win is a really big deal for them and a testament to the leadership of the executive team.
“In terms of the team’s growth, obviously COVID-19 was hard, just not being able to really practice as a contact sport, and then we also lost our coach, so that was kind of a big deal, but I feel like we always kind of had our ups and downs and we’re just trying to make our way through. Right now it’s looking pretty good. I feel pretty good,” Prom said.
Looking ahead, the team hopes to recruit even more players and hopefully get a new coach. “I hope more people of all fitness backgrounds and body types are willing to explore and try this really inclusive sport,” Hermione Yim ’22 said. “I also hope we can have more funding and maybe even a coach available at least once in a while to help us grow and improve.” Although the team is called the women’s rugby team, players of non-binary and trans identities are welcome to play and join the team.
This rugby season has finally come to an end, but next year holds new opportunities. The next season starts in the fall of 2022. After a well-deserved victory, all that’s left is to find a place to put their trophy.
To join the rugby team, email firstname.lastname@example.org.