CC Women’s Rugby Second in the Nation
By Montana Bass ’18
After their first season in the National Small College Rugby Organization Women’s 7s League, CC’s women’s rugby team took home second place in the national championship held in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 30-May 1.
This season marked the first time that CC women’s rugby has qualified for a national tournament. In past years, the team played in the 15s league, with 15 players on the field at one time instead of seven, and had made it to the playoffs. After switching to the 7s format, throwing themselves into their sport, and fostering a tight-knit team dynamic, the players have seen amazing success.
Both coach Michael Windle and the student-athletes say the close relationships they share have been important contributors to their achievements. “Our team is really like a family; they’re super close,” Windle says. “I had to pick 12 players to go to the championships. Every single girl was supportive of her teammates. They were happy for each other to go just as much as they would have been themselves.” Rachel Fitch ’19 agrees wholeheartedly, “The team itself is a fabulous bunch of human beings and we all have great chemistry.”
Still, these women didn’t make it to the national championship solely on heart; they’re an extremely talented group of athletes. “We’ve got a whole lot of athleticism,” says Windle. “We’re incredibly fast.” Fitch was a nationally ranked all-star rugby player in high school. Windle also mentions Naya Herman ’16 and Emilia Delgado ’17 as integral team members. “Naya is and always has been the heart of the team,” he says. “Emilia has taken to the sport like no one I’ve ever seen. She’s a hard runner and has a nose for the goal. She goes for it right away and is our lead scorer.”
Beyond talent and love for one another, this team has one other thing in common: a fierce love for the sport of rugby. Fitch claims rugby will always have a place in her heart and referred to it as, “an artistic form of violence.” Herman concurs, crediting the sport’s ferocity for fostering such close relationships between teammates. “Rugby is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports out there, and it requires a special type of courage and strength that women, and anybody really, are rarely encouraged to have. It demands that you show up for your teammates fully.”
In the post-season, the team won five matches out of six over two days and Nora Holmes ’18 was selected to the elite All-Tournament team
Following such a fantastic season, the women can end the year with a deep sense of fulfillment and excitement for the future. “I’m incredibly proud of these girls,” says Windle. Herman, a graduating senior adds, “I can’t wait to see where the future leaders of CC rugby take the team next.” Be sure to keep an eye out for them in the future!