Womens rugby nears end of successful season

Sophomore Gabrielle Townsend heard about women’s rugby from former students that played last season. In 2019, the first women’s team placed fourth in the state championship. Due to COVID this year, the team started playing during spring, rather than fall. She said this is her first year participating and she has started to genuinely enjoy playing. 

Last year’s success has carried students a wave of confidence against other teams in the district. Townsend, who had no idea how to play rugby, said she has started to catch on to the rules. “The plays can be super confusing. You have to throw the ball behind you, and there are many differences from football,” she said. 

Last Friday’s tournament at Columbus High School boosted Cedar Falls’ confidence with a double win against Waverly Shell Rock (24-0) and West Des Moines Dowling (12-0). “It was super nerve-racking at first; the girls are intimidating, and I didn’t want to get slammed,” Townsend said. 

Junior Lydia Vanengelenhoven started playing rugby when the women’s team first originated. “I think it’s really fun, and I plan on playing for my senior year as well. I’m not sure if I’m going to play rugby in college though,” Vanengelenhoven said. She said rugby is a community sport with good sportsmanship. “We all get along, and the coaches are really fun to be around,” she said.

Due to rugby being a club sport, tournaments are not hosted by the school. It can be hard to find locations to hold events. There is a game every Friday after school, although schedules may vary. Friday April 16th, there will be a home game at Columbus high school starting at 6 PM. To stay updated on game schedules, check the Iowa Youth Rugby Association website. 

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