Claremont Men’s Rugby Club punches ticket to Champions Cup National Championships
VALLEJO, Calif. – The Claremont Colleges Men's Rugby Club won the PacWest Regional Championship with wins over the University of Denver (48-16) in the Round of 16 on April 15 and New Mexico Highlands (37-22) in the regional finals on April 16 at California State University Maritime Academy.
Claremont advanced to the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Champions Cup National Championships (Final Four) on April 30 and May 1 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo. Claremont will take on Eastern Connecticut State University in the semifinals on April 30 at 12 p.m. MST. Then on May 1, Claremont will face the University of Southern Indiana or Mount St. Mary’s University in the championship match or third-place match.
Women’s Rugby outfoxes its way to Division III West Region title
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Playing in front of its biggest crowd of the season, the Claremont Colleges Women’s Rugby Club won the first-ever contested USA Rugby Division III West Regional championship, 27-5 over the University of San Francisco on April 10, to conclude its 2016 season. The day before in the semifinals, the Claremont Foxes defeated St. Mary’s (Calif.) 38-12.
“It was just one of those great sports moments. It’s hard to explain the emotions,” head coach Evan Wollen said. “Have you ever had one of those magical moments in sports where everything comes together? There’s an obstacle and you jump over it and then you find another obstacle and you jump over that one and then you end up winning and you have a trophy in your hand and it just feels awesome. That’s what happened.”
The Foxes overcame a lot during the season and the championship match to raise the regional championship trophy. The team struggled in the wins column in 2015 and played 2016 without three key players on the pitch, including its team captain, all of whom were studying off campus this semester. Nevertheless, the Foxes made it to the four-team West Regional championship match against San Francisco, a team they knew very little about.
“I have a lot of friends in the rugby community. I tried my best to find out about St. Mary’s and San Francisco and I got nothing,” Wollen said with regards to not being able to scout the team’s opponents for the West Regionals.
With a 5-0 first half advantage in the championship, the momentum shifted as USF evened the score just before halftime. Around the same time, Claremont suffered an injury to one of its key players, having already lost the team’s scrum-half (rugby’s equivalent to losing its quarterback or point guard) to an injury three minutes into the match.
Tied 5-5 at halftime, the Foxes overcame adversity and took control of the match with three tries in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
“It was just beautiful,” Wollen said. “You could see the other team start to get frustrated because they were trying their best to stop us and they just couldn’t. Everything was clicking.”
Celia Daettals (PZ ’16) scored three tries while Joey Yamada (CMC ’18) and Jesse Ribera (PZ ’19) scored one each for Claremont against USF.
Understandably so, after the win, the Foxes were ecstatic.
“I saw team members who traditionally keep their emotions close to the vest, cry,” Wollen said. “For a lot of our players, it’s the first championship they have won I suspect and it is just a great feeling.”