Photo: Faith Morley by Samantha Yothers
West Chester University’s Women’s Rugby team has started their practices in preparation for their spring 7’s season. Their first tournament is Frostbite College 7s on February 26.
The team only has eight practices before they compete in Lancaster, PA.
“We have a short turnover,” head coach Tony DeRemer said, “so we have to be very focused to make sure we cover everything before we play.”
The Golden Rams will then travel to compete in Harvard University’s (HU) Crimson 7s on March 3.
Last 7s season, the team won the plate final at the tournament. They lost two games (HU 22–19) (Army 32–0) and won two (American International College (AIC) 26–12, 27–15).
WCU will then host the next tournament on Saturday, April 1. The tournament will be held at the South Campus Rugby Field next to Sturzebecker Health Science Center.
“This gives the players an opportunity to play in front of their fans and play on our home turf,” DeRemer said.
The home tournament is the second tournament in four weekends for the Golden Rams and the first home 7s tournament in at least four years.
“[I’m] so excited,” captain Faith Morley said. “We’ve never had a home tournament in my time here at WC.”
The Golden Rams will play an A-side and a B-side in this tournament and every tournament except for Harvard’s Crimson 7s.
“This seasons’ schedule is competitive yet geared toward getting some younger players some time to play,” DeRemer said. “This should give significant playing time to more players.”
West Chester will then travel to Emperor 7s hosted by Princeton University (PU) on April 8. This tournament will be a day trip to Princeton for the team.
On April 16 the Golden Rams will travel to NIRA 7s hosted by Long Island University (LIU). NIRA stands for National Intercollegiate Rugby Association.
“I think it’s important to focus on the small steps leading up to big tournaments such as the NIRA 7s,” Morley said.
This tournament is WCU’s only chance to qualify for the 2023 USA Rugby 7s Collegiate Championships (R7CC). Last season, multiple tournaments were qualifiers.
“We have a weekend in our minds where we have to be physically ready and mentally ready,” DeRemer said.
One qualifying weekend compared to many is a better option according to DeRemer.
“Players these days like to have things planned out and organized in their minds so I think it will help them to be prepared,” DeRemer said.
If the team qualifies for R7CC, they will play their final tournament May 5–7 in Houston, TX.
“We’re excited to be back and motivating each other every day to work harder and reach that common goal of winning the national championship,” captain Faith Morley said.
In regular season tournament play, WCU finished first in Bloomsburg 7s, won the plate final at the Harvard Crimson 7s, placed third in Queens University 7s and placed third in Princeton’s Emperor 7s.
Unlike the fall the team is playing rugby 7s. In rugby 7s there are less players on the same size field and the game is two 7-minute halves instead of two 40-minute halves.
Ty Hickey is a second-year media and culture major with a minor in Chinese. ch983713@wcupa