It’s funny if you were to walk out around the campus of West Chester, amongst the thousands of students and pick out ten of them, I am sure that less then half would know that the Golden Rams sport both men’s and women’s rugby teams. But indeed, they do. The men’s team has struggled to deal with multiple problems with the players on and off of the field in the past. But thanks to coach Ryan Barr and the rest of his coaching staff that has changed in the last three years.
The Golden Rams consistently participate in events around West Chester, like Brian’s Run and Alcohol Awareness Programs, among many others. They have come together as a team the past few years, their record has skyrocketed, and the USA Rugby National Association has noticed them as a result.
This association, along with the Army National Guard, came through this year to pick three hundred teams nationally to receive a multi thousand dollar kit, and West Chester was one of those three hundred chosen. The kit that the team received included 25 team jerseys, shorts, socks, headgear, balls, goal posts, training equipment and much more. WCU is one of 43 teams in Pennsylvania to receive this package.
Additionally, The Lady Rams, having already won the first NCAA sanctioned rugby game last fall, recently completed the fall season with a 5-2 record while racking up the EPRU championship for the second year in a row. West Chester took the championship game from the Princeton Tigers, who they defeated last year as well. Princeton had won six of the last 10 championships before West Chester’s win. Scoring for the Lady Rams in that game were Megan Shisler, at 3:28, two trys by Megan Kirk at 7:45 and 71:23 and two conversions by Whitney Hartshone.
Other big victories in the fall season were a squeaker by one point over Eastern Illinois, which placed West Chester in the NCAA hall of fame, as the victors in the first NCAA game between two sanctioned rugby teams. There were shutouts of Princeton and Delaware and a seven point win over Shippensburg. The only two losses for the Rams came at the hands of Navy and Penn State, the number one ranked team.
After the extremely successful fall tour, the Lady Rams are gearing up for the spring season. The fall landed the girls in the USA National Rugby tournament, where they made it to the quarterfinals.
Ryan Frisco is a first-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at RF648257@wcupa.edu.