Story by Tess Foster, Reporter
A women’s rugby team has been in the works here at Aquinas for the past two years, and it is now finally here. Rugby is a rapidly growing sport with lots of demand. When it’s supported, it can be very successful very quickly. The first ever team here consists of 11 rugby commits with high school or college level experience and nine players totally new to the game of rugby. Six of said newcomers were already here at Aquinas playing other sports and two walk-ons are new athletes. These women have a tough task ahead of them, and they are ready for the challenge.
“The players are the ones who do the hard work in developing the culture and developing the standards that we have,” said Laura Miller, head coach. “Our recruiting class and the on-campus recruits made a concerted effort to be a competitive program. They’re all here because they want to compete, not just because they like rugby. They want to build a championship team.”
Women’s rugby competed in their first ever competition September 17 against Grand Valley in a sevens competition. The Saints won the match 35-0 with the scorers being Liberty Cawthorn, Laura Pointon, Natalie Vaitas, Jenesis Dotson and Kano Yokoyama. Next, they played Adrian competing in their first home match in the Grand Rapids Rugby Club’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day event. The Saints came out of the two sevens matches undefeated with scores of 10-7 and 20-5, making them 3-0 for this season. The team strives to win, but they also have a good time on-and-off the field.
“They’re very silly,” Miller said. “They’re very clearly having a lot of fun. They’ve taken over our Tik Tok and are having a great time. They’re learning how to have fun and then buckle down and then come back out and have fun.”
Support our Saints in their next matchup at home against McKendree on October 29 at 5:30 p.m., and don’t forget to follow them on Tik Tok @aq_wrugby!