By Megan Dierberger
The St. Ben’s Rugby team should not be underestimated. The club team, which began in 1978, finished the regular season undefeated in its division and 6-2 overall. Although the team has a clean record, it did face
challenges right from the start.
For its first regular season game the team drove up to Bemidji with two players missing, leaving it with 13 women instead of 15. Becky Timmons, a senior captain, said this game was their hardest, but one of their best games in terms of team comradery. Timmons is The Record’s business manager. Despite the small team, they still managed to pull a 41-36 win.
The shortage of players occurred again against University of Minnesota-Morris, but this time, with its
opponents. The U of M-Morris forfeited, so they played a friendly instead. For the last half of the game, several CSB players moved to the Morris side to help the team. This allowed CSB rookie players to try out new positions they had not experienced.
The playoffs start up for St. Ben’s on Friday, Oct. 27 in Rochester. CSB is currently seeded No. 1 in their region. The top two teams in each region come together to join a total of 16 teams throughout DIII colleges. St. Ben’s will face other DIII colleges such as St. Olaf who is seeded No. 1 in its region.
The majority of the rugby team is underclassmen, with 14 underclassmen and seven upperclassmen. Timmons said this balances the team out. As a captain, Timmons keeps the team upbeat and includes
everyone—both in and out of game time.
“I think when things aren’t going well on the field, you have to keep your cool and know how to provide constructive criticism without bringing the whole team down,” Timmons said. “I try to be conscious on knowing how to deliver what our next step should be, without sounding like I’m exempt from it too.”
Timmons and her fellow captain Katarina Podewils, an editor for The Record, have helped master team chemistry, and the on-field performance shows. The rugby team always wants more recruits, and being labeled as a club sport can be both a blessing and a curse.
The team practices every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, making it less of a commitment for the athletes. SunAh Shim, a sophomore forward, is able to participate in crew and rugby, given their flexibilities. Despite the lower commitment, the team can still have a hard time finding new players some years.
“It is a lot of convincing women they are strong and powerful enough to be a part of the team,” Timmons said. “We always accept everyone, there is always a place on the team, no matter their body type or what year they are.”
Katie Blackey, CSB ’15 and current head coach of the team, says they always get the worst fields and practices times since they are a club sport.
“But besides that, I can only think of positive things about this sport,” Blackey said.
The spring season picks back up after winter break, and will consist of the same team, with hopes of new recruits.
“I hope we keep having rookie players, so the school believes and supports us as a club sport,” Shim said.
The team has been around for 40 years, and the women hope to be around for even longer.
FEATURE PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE MOLITOR