Women’s Rugby Takes NSCRO Nationals

By MAX PADILLA

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN
Sam Valone ’20.5 competes in the Middlebury 7’s tournament on April 14.

This was a record season for the Middlebury College Women’s Rugby Club. On Saturday April 6, they competed in the Rugby Northeast 7’s tournament. The ladies tore up the field, winning three matches, allowing them to compete against one of the best teams in the nation: Bentley University. 

 The game was nerve-racking, the score tied until the last thirty seconds of the game. Unfortunately the Falcons stole the win, allowing them to steal a spot in the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Championships. 

 Bentley dropped out, allowing the Panthers to compete in NSCROs on April 27-28. 

 The team went to Pittsburgh for the championship. The Northeast Tournament (national qualifiers) was their first tournament of the season. The team had only eight practices to prepare for the tournament, most of the other qualifying schools had their lineups set for months. Co-captain Ellen Colton ’19 recalled that the going to the championship was “exciting, rewarding, and gave us an amazing opportunity to learn from some of the best teams in the country.” Even competing in the tournament meant a lot to the team, Colton continued, “I’m really proud of the team for learning from each match we played and then putting those things into practice, which resulted in us winning both of our matches on the second day of the tournament and finishing 13th overall. We support each other on and off the pitch and I think you could feel that in every match.” As she leaves the school and the team, Colton hopes that this will encourage the club to keep pushing itself. Despite their lack of school resources and experience, they are clearly still able to hold their own on a national level. 

This experience meant everything to the Panthers: “Even if we didn’t place first, we all felt like winners walking off the field” said Megan Salmon ’21, rising forwards captain. As a leader of the team, she’s excited for what’s to come. “We have a lot of young talent to work with and this trip to nationals just proved that this was only the beginning for MCWRC,” she said. The championships seemed to light a fire in some of the younger members, first year Miriam Weathers says the end of their season, “felt like such a reward. I think that it will definitely make the team work harder, going into the future. We all want to qualify again, for sure.”

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