The women’s rugby football team found new successes and leadership this year.
After their former coach moved out of Saginaw, President Makayla Cerny said the team now has two coaches, just in time for the national Nashville Nash Bash.
“The national tournament is the biggest women’s tournament in the country,” Cerny said. “It’s where a lot of colleges can come together, and we can play teams we never really get the opportunity to play, especially on our level.”
She said the tournament was a unique opportunity to play out of state, which most college rugby teams are not able to do.
“This is just a way to play teams from Chicago or Down South,” she said. “I don’t even know who’s going, but we get to meet a lot of people and it’s just a cool atmosphere. We get to learn a lot about the game, and the social aspect is fun, too.”
Cerny said she believes the team will be able to keep its momentum from earlier successes. SVSU brought two rugby teams to the Kalamazoo Snowball Tournament on Feb. 8.
“One team won all of their games, and the other team just lost one,” she said, “but it was pretty good otherwise. It was wild.”
With two new coaches and the Kalamazoo wins still in memory, Cerny said she is optimistic about their chances of success in the Nashville tournament. She said the opportunity was possible because of those who donated to their Facebook fundraiser to pay for the trip.
“We actually put our goal pretty low because we weren’t sure if we’d even be able to hit it, and we raised it two or three times, so we’ve already surpassed it, thankfully,” Cerny said. “It’s important to have the funds to go down there because otherwise the girls have to pay a lot more out of pocket. This just helps us pay for jerseys, hotel rooms, gas, registration fees – all that fun stuff.”
Cerny said Student Association gave them an allocation of $1,500 last year. They are in the process of applying for an allocation this year as well. The team is also still accepting monetary donations. Anyone who donates $50 or more will receive a rugby t-shirt.
“For the T-shirts, we’re just kind of doing where if you donated enough money, you can get your logo on the back of a T-shirt,” Cerny said. “We sold T-shirts last year, and it was just kind of a mess, so we’re trying to keep it simple this year.”
She said any female student can join rugby, and no prior experience is necessary.
“We teach you everything,” she said. “It’s a great way to get active. It’s a lot less scary than it sounds. It’s pretty safe, actually, way safer than football. It’s a lot of fun. You sound really cool when you say you play rugby.”
Cerny said their next home games will most likely be in the fall, but fans can watch the team at Michigan State on March 21.