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Falcon ruggers receive new sponsorship deal

April 10, 2008

With a new spring season, the UW-River Falls women’s rugby team has new sponsorship.

The team was selected to be sponsored by the National Guard and USA Rugby, and will receive new uniforms, balls, field equipment and goal posts.

“This was a great accomplishment for our team and we are very honored to represent UWRF to the entire nation as a model of great sportsmanship and a general love of rugby,” senior Katherine LaPorte said.

The women’s rugby team on campus does as much as it can to help out the community and campus. Team members participate in Adopt a Highway and offer free services to community members for leaf raking, snow shoveling, painting and wood stacking.

“They are a group of very responsible, very dedicated and very interested young women. They work very hard and play very hard, and they get little recognition,” Ken Olson, faculty adviser to the team said.

The UWRF women’s rugby team is considered part of the Minnesota Rugby Union. They play teams from all over the state such as Mankato, Winona, the University of Minnesota and Carleton College. They also play teams from as far away as St. Cloud, Thunder Bay, Canada and North Dakota State University.

“Rugby is a relatively new sport across America. Although it is one of the fastest growing college sports in the Metro area, it is not getting a lot of recognition from universities,” Katherine LaPorte said. “The game has become the most popular club sport on college campuses.”

The rugby season on campus is divided into two parts. In the fall the team plays its competitive season, while the spring season is more relaxed which allows the team to have more fun. The team travels the most in the spring, playing in a different tournament almost every weekend.

“Most of the girls have never seen a rugby game,” Team President Amanda Prochazka said. “[On the field] they are given the ball and told to run.”

A game April 5 was played a little differently. It was a home game and there were three teams: UWRF, St. Olaf and Macalester. Instead of a traditional match, the teams mixed together to give everyone a chance to play with new teammates. They drew names out of a hat to pick teams.

The team that calls themselves the Falcon Ruggers consist of 25 women. Officially, their name is simply the UWRF Women’s Rugby team.

The team currently practices at Hoffman Park and plays their games at the intramural fields behind campus.

“We used to practice every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6 a.m. in the Knowles Center, but due to open recreation time, the practices were moved to 4 p.m. on the intramural fields,” LaPorte said. “We have now had to move practices to Hoffman Park due to the field conditions. The fields would be damaged by the team’s cleats, and the University wants to maintain the reputation for having the best field.”