The Mount St. Mary’s Women’s Rugby club team is in the process of becoming a Division I varsity sport starting in the fall. The announcement was made by Lynne Robinson, Director of Athletics, in March following the announcement of the return of varsity men’s soccer.
The Women’s Rugby team was started as a club team in 2012. Since then, it has made regular appearances at national tournaments as both 15s and 7s teams. This past fall, the 15s team finished first in their conference and second in Regionals, losing to Lee University 29-26. Now, the 7s team is getting ready to compete once again in the National Small College Rugby Organization Women’s 7s National Championship on April 29-30.
The Mount is now one of seven other NCAA Division I programs in the country. The other teams include Brown University, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Quinnipiac University, Sacred Heart University and the United States Military Academy.
Changes have already started taking place to help the team in the transition process. Farrah Douglas was named the new head coach, and she is bringing 12 years of coaching experience with her.
Club President Meg Miller said, “We’re sad to say goodbye to the current coaching staff, especially Coach Stratton who has helped build this team, but we’re in good hands with Farrah Douglas.” Other players agreed that Scott Stratton will be missed. “I’m going to miss Scott. He has a special place in my heart, from the moment I stepped on the field my freshman year. But I also have met the new coach, and I think she can put a lot of things forward for us,” added Marissa Clark.
To help in the transition, the team will still be allowed to play against schools in the NSCRO conference who they have been playing against since the formation of the team. This will allow for a variety of matches played against old and new teams.
Overall, the players are excited. Women’s rugby is one of the fastest growing women’s sports programs in the country. The Mount’s addition to the NCAA Division I program also helps the varsity program grow and spread to new schools.
“I hope to see our team improve as a unit and have our bond closer than ever,” said Nataly Cisneros. “These girls are my family, and I know together we can play really well under Coach Farrah.”