Friendships emerge as UK women’s rugby team starts its season

The+womens+rugby+team+after+winning+a+home+game+against+Marshall+University+in+September+2017.

The women’s rugby team after winning a home game against Marshall University in September 2017.

Kamilah Williams

UK students are finding friendship in a sport that not a lot of athletes do. UK women’s rugby team officially started its spring season with a game on Feb. 17.

“Students should expect to see UKWRFC progress this season,” Amanda Zahn, a freshman outside center, said. “We are hoping to grow in numbers as we recruit new players, improve our skills, and just become a better team altogether.”

The team plays in both the fall and spring semester, one season being more competitive than the other. The team’s biggest competitors are Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati.

“The fall semester is our competitive season where we play 15 vs. 15,” Zahn said. “The spring season is less competitive, and we play mostly 7 vs. 7 for the sake of just improving overall as a team.”

With the new home playing field, located on the corner of Cooper and Sports Center Drive next to the baseball fields, students will be within walking distance to watch the games. Students going to watch the team play should expect to see a number of new players showcasing their skills while growing as players.

“Playing rugby is unique because it doesn’t have the same kind of mainstream following in the U.S. as other major sports like basketball and football,” said senior Hannah Carrillo. “It’s a very tight-knit community with a culture that’s all its own.”

Carrillo said that returning player Olivia Steddom is coming back after spending this past semester studying abroad in France. She also said injures are not as common for in rugby, but there are always a few small injuries players work through.  

The players on this team continually support one another. This program offers a place to make a new friend and participate in a sport with a different dynamic.

“We stand out from other students in that, by getting involved in a campus sport, we not only gained teammates but amazing friends,” Zahn said. “Whether you want someone to hang out with or to get food with, someone is always available. People join rugby for tons of reasons, from wanting to get in shape to wanting to learn something new, but I think everyone stays for the same thing: the sense of community we have.”

For students interested in playing rugby, contact Miranda Spurgeon at [email protected] Also, check out the team’s Facebook page to stay up to date about games and fundraising events.

“We encourage everyone who thinks they might be interested in rugby to come out to our practices and give it a try,” Carrillo said. “We are still accepting new players for this season.”

The women’s rugby team is back in action on Feb. 24 at Marshall University and then on March 3 at WKU.