Photo courtesy of Robert Beeland ( C’18)
By Kurt DeLay
Starting next fall, the Sewanee men’s and women’s rugby clubs will merge to become Sewanee Co-Ed Rugby. The Sewanee Purple Haze and Lady Ruckus previously operated independently, but as a co-ed club, the men’s and women’s teams will practice together, utilize the same facilities, and consolidate funding. Coach Dan Carter will continue to oversee the club.
“After the 2016 Olympics, women’s rugby is gaining an international presence; we want to be a part of that,” said women’s Captain Maddy Wilson (C’19). Men’s captain Cooper Lewis (C’18) looks forward to “more lenient practice schedules and better division of resources than years past. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to spread a passion [for the game].”
Both captains look to facilitate greater opportunities for collegiate women’s rugby in the southeast, an area where women’s rugby is severely underrepresented in comparison to men’s. Though the teams will continue to compete independently, players feel the move will ultimately generate more solidarity among the players and increase the club’s influence on campus.
With a strong underclassman presence, the club looks to keep momentum going into next year. “Hopefully more students will be able to try something new and enjoy it just as much as us,” said Lewis. If all goes as planned, students can look forward to seeing more Sewanee rugby home games as well as Sewanee-sponsored rugby tournaments in the coming semester.