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St. Olaf rugby battles through fall

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As classes resume, leaves change and temperatures drop, so too comes the arrival of fall club sports. One of the more popular club sports on campus is rugby. St. Olaf boasts both men’s and women’s rugby teams. Much like a mix between American football and soccer, the players run the ball down the field, passing only backward in an attempt to kick penalty goals or score tries. It’s a full-contact sport, and, unlike in football, players do not wear protective gear.

Men’s rugby has had a tough season thus far, with a record of 0-3 following games against Carleton College, University of Wisconsin-River Falls and College of St. Scholastica. However, the team is stronger this year than in previous years and has been playing well – posting competitive scorelines in each fixture.

Hector Poveda ’18 has thoroughly enjoyed his club rugby experience. In particular, he savored the rivalry match against the Carls.

“The game I was most excited about was the one against Carleton. As you might know, the rivalry against Carleton goes beyond sports,” said Poveda. “It was really exciting to play them.”

According to Poveda, the bond with his teammates is unlike any other, making each game they play together special.

“Every time is the best time,” said Poveda. “The rugby team is fantastic; they are like my family.”

The St. Olaf women’s rugby team, led by captain Anna Grimes ’15, has also had a successful season this fall. The team’s current record is 2-2, with wins against University of St. Thomas and Macalester College, and losses against Carleton College and University of Wisconsin-River falls. May Selle ’18 is new to the St. Olaf rugby team this year and is thrilled with the performance of her team this season. Selle also had no hesitation when asked which game was the most anticipated of the year.

“Carleton,” Selle said. “Definitely Carleton.”

Selle believes that the rugby experience is unique and unlike many other club sports available.

“I really like my teammates, and without knowing each other that well yet, we’re close,” said Selle.2 “I think it’s because rugby is a contact sport, so you have to be comfortable with your teammates. And you have to trust them. The best moment was when we won 92-0 against St. Thomas.”

Selle has advice for all those out there who have an interest in watching or playing rugby:

“There’s a spring season. If you are considering, watch in the fall, play in the spring,” Selle said. “You don’t need to be athletic or knowledgeable about the game. It’s a lot of fun, and you meet great people.”

Practice and games for both teams will continue throughout the fall. All home games are played on Carleton’s field. Go check it out and support your fellow Oles.

whitfo1@stolaf.edu

Graphic credit: ETHAN BOOTE/MANITOU MESSENGER