KSU Women’s Rugby: victorious on and off the field

The women’s rugby team at Kennesaw State is highly underrated given the benefits it provides its players.

By: OLIVIA HARPER

KENNESAW, Ga. – Imagine a group of college-age women. They are tackling, charging, and pushing through each other with virtually no gear in order to get a ball into the in-zone.

What you are thinking of is a day in the life of a Kennesaw State University women’s rugby player.

Kennesaw State women’s rugby

The woman’s rugby team was founded in the fall of 2010 at Kennesaw State University. As a club sports program, the women’s team is very underappreciated and obscure around campus. Many students are unaware of the team’s existence.

Being a part of the team builds confidence and lasting friendships.

“Rugby has made me a lot more sociable, and I’ve seen so much about being part of a team that I haven’t known before,” says Kensie Blackledge, a rookie on the team as of August.

Blackledge was walking to her car on the campus green when she found out about the team from an informational booth. The team is always growing and open to all levels of experience says Blackledge.

Being part of the team

Officer positions are also available on the team if you’re willing to take on the responsibility.

“To become an officer, you have to run and then the team votes,” says medical officer Christina Psareas. Some of her responsibilities include: stocking the medical bag, being cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certified, filling out accident reports, and taking injured people to the hospital.

The game of rugby

Rugby is a contact sport similar to football, but also very different. The object of the game is to carry, pass, or kick the ball to the end zone to score as many points as possible. The other team’s goal is to stop you.

Rugby popularity has risen drastically over the past decade.

Coach Andrew Hutton

andrewhutton.jpg
Andrew Hutton (photo by Olivia Harper)

Unlike football, Rugby is played with only a mouth guard and cleats, nothing else. The coach of the team, Andrew Hutton, says that the two most common injuries in Rugby are concussions and shoulder injuries from tackling.

“In 2015 we’ve had a broken ankle, two concussions, and a back injury,” Hutton says. He adds that with proper fitness and training, these injuries are avoidable.

Hutton has been with the KSU Women’s Rugby team for almost a year.

Some of Hutton’s responsibilities as coach are deciding what drills to work on at practice and creating game day line-ups and substitutions.

Having patience is one of Hutton’s biggest challenges when coaching this team. “Because Woman’s Rugby is a club sport, the players sometimes come to practice unfocused,” Hutton says.

The goal of the team is to have fun, but also to win.

Although facing challenges, Hutton’s favorite thing about coaching the team is seeing them play well. Hutton says that watching where they came from to get to the “ah ha” moment and understanding the game is why he loves doing it.

The team has had a victorious season while playing games against Middle Tennessee State, Tulane University, University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, and Clemson.

Memorable tournaments 

When Blackledge, Psareas, and Hutton were asked what their most memorable tournament was of the season, they all said the Battleship Tournament. Battleship was an away tournament in Mobile, Ala. where the team competed on Nov. 7-8.

The girls played two games on Saturday and two on Sunday. Hutton said they won all four. Blackledge said the overall experience of the weekend was one she will never forget because of the bonding with the other girls.

For more information on the team, click here.

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