Colgate Women’s Rugby has been working hard preparing for the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Women’s 7s National Championship held on April 27 and 28 in Pittsburgh, PA. The team says they are elated to have earned a sixth place finish after, essentially, a year-long effort.
The first competition took place over spring break when Colgate attended the Ariel Re Bermuda Intl 7s tournament in Hamilton, Bermuda. In addition to briefly escaping from snowy New York to the warmer of the two Hamiltons, the team left the tournament equipped with a set of goals. Rugby 7s is a variation of traditional rugby with each half lasting 7 minutes and each team fielding 7 players. Since 7s is still played on a full-size pitch, gameplay demands much more stamina.
“Since coming back from Bermuda, our training sessions have become more intense and competitive which has made all the difference in our matches,” Coach David Chapman said.
The next challenge came in the form of the first conference tournament. Vying for an automatic bid to nationals, Colgate made it to the final match, which they lost to the University of Rochester. Unshakeable, the women were back on the pitch the next weekend at a St. Bonaventure tournament. This time, Colgate earned a win against the previous weekend’s victors but Colgate’s chances at an automatic bid were extinguished as Colgate finished second place to St. Bonaventure.
Nonetheless, Colgate applied for an at large bid, hoping they would receive one of the few available slots based on their strong season. Soon, captain Mackay Peltzer ’19 broke the news to the team: “We’re in!”
The women knew they would face some of the nation’s toughest college teams, but Chapman was confident.
“We have built a strong, athletic and deep rugby team over the past eight months. Their work has truly set our team up for success,” he said.
“The team has grown a lot in the past two years and I am confident that the younger players will develop the program to be consistently competitive at the national level,” Pelzter said.
Despite a tough pool, Colgate started Nationals strong with a 17-15 win over Findlay University. Next up was a tough 36-12 loss against the defending National champions, Wayne State. Colgate, one of few teams to score against them, held their heads high as they rounded off pool play against Swarthmore, se- curing a 19-5 win and advancing to the quarter-finals. Colgate began the match against U of R with an early try, but, lost momentum after receiving a question- able yellow card and a series of penalties. Although putting up a good fight, Colgate narrowly lost 17-14. Energy was high the next morning as Colgate stayed focused during a physical match against Lee University, earning a 10-7 win and a chance to play for fifth place. Colgate played with phenomenal grit despite the rainy and muddy conditions, but, Eckerd College scored a late game try and successfully converted it resulting in a 12-14 loss for Colgate.
Ultimately, Colgate Women’s Rugby is incredibly excited about being sixth in the country. It’s a long way up from last year’s thirteenth place and, as one player remarked, not too far from the top. The team says they are incredibly grateful for everyone who believed in their success and helped the team through a great year, and that the team has truly become one, big family.