Gustavus Women’s Rugby Team Bound for National Final Four

The club team will compete December 2-3 in the National Small College Rugby Organization's final four in Marietta, Georgia.
Posted on November 30th, 2017 by

The Gustavus Adolphus College women’s rugby team is set to compete at the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) final four this weekend at Life University in Marietta, Georgia. The club team will join Wayne State University (Neb.), Bentley University (Mass.), and York College (Penn.) for the tournament, with the national champion being crowned on Sunday, December 3.

Qualifying for the playoffs after a successful regular season, the Gusties advanced to the final four after winning the Minnesota state title in October before capturing the Central Regional title at the Sweet 16 Tournament in Ohio in November. As a participant in this weekend’s tournament, the Gustavus women’s rugby team is one of the four best teams out of 98 NSCRO programs across the country.

The Gusties open competition on Saturday against Wayne State University at 12 p.m. EST. If they win, they will compete for the national championship on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST. To learn more about the final four, visit the tournament website. All matches will also be livestreamed on the NSCRO’s YouTube channel.

As the Gusties geared up to battle for the national championship, senior co-captains Kristen White and Tory Makela answered a few questions…


Gustavus: What does it mean to the team to be able to compete in the Final Four this weekend? 

KW: As a relatively young team, the final four is an exciting opportunity for us to demonstrate our athletic ability, gain experience at the national level, and enjoy the sport we love. It’s a rewarding feeling to have our dedication, both to the sport and to each other, come to fruition. As a senior and a co-captain it has been personally fulfilling to have my final season be so successful, and I hope to see that success continue as we make our way to Georgia this weekend!

Gustavus: What’s the best thing about being involved in club sports at Gustavus?

KW: Club sports help facilitate a well-rounded college experience. Sports, in general, allow for a healthy outlet to decompress from the rigors of academic life and provide an opportunity to expand one’s social circle and forge new friendships. Club sports, more specifically, provide these benefits to numerous athletes who would have potentially hung up their sneakers after high school. I often find myself saying that joining the Gustavus women’s club rugby team is perhaps the best decision I have made in college, and I am honored to be a part of a team with such tenacity on and off of the pitch.

Gustavus: How has the team grown and changed during your time at Gustavus?

TM: This year our team joined a hybrid league, playing and beating DII teams (University of Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State University, Mankato, etc.) during the regular season, but played in the NSCRO playoffs. This gave our players the experience and grit of a DII team when facing tough NSCRO teams in playoffs, which I believe is a huge factor in our successful season. We have always had a reputation of being passionate, hard-working, and accepting, but there’s just something about this year’s team that wows me. Every game, I am astounded by the heart and attitude each player shows and the respect we have for every player on the pitch. In past years, it seems that it was left to upperclassmen to fire up the team. This year, every player — rookie and vet — has invested their all in the team and wants to be the best NSCRO team in the nation. This has been a major driving force in our success this year. The constant in all our success, however, is our coach, Charles Johnson, who has invested time and effort in our team and has shaped us into who we are today!

Gustavus: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned through your involvement in club sports?

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my involvement in club sports is that anybody can be an athlete. While recruiting this year, the rugby team really tried to stress that, in rugby, there is a place for “every body.” We have players of all body types, walks of life, and levels of athletic experience. Most of our players had not touched a rugby ball before coming to Gustavus, so our team is understanding and encouraging with beginners. Furthermore, rugby is a sport that needs both power and speed, agility and endurance, but most importantly it requires heart and determination. Anyone can develop these qualities given the right environment.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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