Senior fllanker Elizabeth Locher prepares to deliver a kick during practice for the women's rugby team on September 5. | Photo by Thomas Lal
Senior fllanker Elizabeth Locher prepares to deliver a kick during practice for the women's rugby team on September 5. | Photo by Thomas Lal

Women’s Rugby Preps for Upcoming Season

HSU Women's Rugby trains for a new division placement and tougher opponents.

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HSU Women’s Rugby trains for a new division placement and tougher opponents

An evening of practice with the Humboldt State Women’s Rugby team consisted of preparation for their first home game of the season on November 23 against Sacramento State. The team has recently moved to Division II which means this season they will be competing against 10 schools as opposed to five.

HSU athletics is no stranger when it comes to long distances of travel. Rugby athlete Libby True spoke on the recent division transition.

“I began playing during my freshman year,” True said. “We started off playing against 10 games then to six games and now back to 10.”

Having additional opponents gives the team an opportunity to capitalize on more wins and get an early lead in their division. They are making modifications to their practice routines to prepare for the extensive weeks of play against opponents they have never faced.

“We’ve never played against them, so we aren’t sure what we’re up against,” player Hanna Hartman said. “But with the way we’ve been practicing it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Despite the unknown challenge that awaits, there is no denying that the team will utilize techniques that keep their players operational. Whether it’s taking hits or falling, Hannah explained that playing efficiently is key to avoiding unwanted injuries.

Junior Zelaya Ceja throws the ball to a teammate during a touch game in practice for the women’s rughby team on September 5. | Photo by Thomas Lal

“We learned how to hit and fall properly,” Hartman said. “There’s a right way to do it safely.”

Rugby is physically demanding with frequent body collision and the occasional injuries, therefore players are encouraged to work on their endurance to take hits routinely.

Claire Branson has played rugby for three years at HSU and provided her input on avoiding injuries.

“Keep your core muscles strong, when you get tackled it’s a lot of core strength,” Branson said. “Make sure it’s tight, so you’re not pulling muscles.”

During practice, players utilize precautions to ensure safety. When playing an impact sport like rugby, building endurance is essential.

Safety Officer and player Janay Aoga has high expectations with endurance training, since it lands on days that players invest their time working out.

“On our conditioning days we focus on staying strong and fast because fit rugby is fun rugby,” Aoga said.

A sport can’t be fun if there’s no one around to play, but it’s a different tone when it comes to the HSU women’s rugby team. Their love for the sport shines through their resilience and determination.

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