Rhinos Ready to Rumble
Oberlin College women’s rugby fans better start hauling out their leftover Pabst Blue Ribbon cardboard boxes and glue in preparation for the upcoming season. With a spring semester chock full of games and tournaments, the infamous Oberlin rugby fans should start garnering their PBR can costumes now and digging the old lawn chair out from under last semester’s pile of books.
After a disappointing loss in the semi-finals last fall, the Rhinos had an exciting end to their season with the successful fund-raising rugby calendar. Due to the large proportion of students who attended last semester’s games and received the calendar, the Rhinos have received a lot of publicity and have picked up a solid batch of rookies.
“We have so many new people!” said sophomore Michelle Ahmad. “We definitely have a lot more excited, awesome girls than in the past.”
The team has held information sessions to teach rookies the game and hosted a skills clinic last weekend to work on handling the ball. The Rhinos have also been conditioning for the past three weeks, incorporating weight room training and cardio into practices.
Sophomore rookie Lauren Malinowski is working hard to pick up on the game. She is impressed by how knowledgeable the older players are and by the team’s unity.
“The vets are extremely nice and helpful. Because rugby is all about contact, it is very easy to make friends especially when your face is in someone’s crotch, which happens a lot in this sport,” said Malinowski. This upcoming weekend, many players will be traveling to Kentucky for a skills camp and the opportunity to try out for the under-21 all-Ohio team. Coaches from around the country will be on hand to help players refine skills and give instruction. Every year a handful of Oberlin rugby players get picked for the all-Ohio team.
“We [the Oberlin team] are entirely self-coached,” commented sophomore Jolie Signorile. “The seniors are really knowledgeable but it’s a great experience to be on the all-Ohio team and get coached by some of Ohio’s best.”
This season, the Rhinos are looking to take a clean sweep of the competition and keep an undefeated record. Team captain senior Davi Shy, scrum captains senior Jenny Kraft and junior Morgan Evans and line captains seniors Alia Kate and Claire Nelson lead the Oberlin women’s Rhinos into their first competition Saturday, March 11th against Michigan State at north fields.
“Oh man! We are super ultra excited!” said Ahmad.