by Savana Robinson
The Cal Poly Humboldt alumni dominated the 2023 women’s rugby alumni game on Sept. 30. Both teams played for the same university and put their all into the match. With an end score of 87 to 5, the alumni defeated Cal Poly Humboldt, whose team is mainly made up of newcomers, many who saw their first game on Saturday.
Cal Poly Humboldt’s team captain Courtney Campuzano caught a couple of breakaways in the game, meaning took off with the ball, escaping players trying to tackle her. Campuzano is a senior majoring in social work. Campuzano was excited to see so many alumni back to play in the match, stating it felt awesome to see alumni happy to come out. She noted that some new players played the most they ever had.
“I saw these rookies get stuck in,” Campuzano said. “One’s been here for maybe two weeks.”
Saturday was Ashlyn Broeland’s first game as a player for Cal Poly Humbolt’s women’s rugby team. A junior majoring in environmental studies with an emphasis in education, Broeland is number nine on the team. Her position on the team is scrum half, which is an important role because it forms the link between the forwards and the backs.
“I’m really excited for our new players to get out there,” Broeland said. “This is a really good chance for them to learn the game.”
Cal Poly Humboldt’s cheer team came to support Broeland, their cheer captain, who has been on the team for three years.
Sophia Nielsen played on the alumni side, having graduated in 2021 with a degree in wildlife.
“[The most fun part was] being with my teammates I haven’t seen in over a year,” Nielsen said.
Wynnie Savageford graduated in 2023 with a bachelor’s in criminology and justice studies.
“[I like] the camaraderie of being around everybody and just being back in the pitch together,” Savageford said.
Head coach Catalina Leon was most excited for the team to put together the skills they’ve been working on in an actual game. Leon stated that the biggest part of their strategy was communication and putting those fundamentals to work.
“We were able to do that because we were able to get some breakaways and it worked,” Leon said. “It also showed us the areas that we still need to work on.”
Leon said that overall the girls played well, especially considering that the majority of the girls joined this September.
Lauren Bankerd, a junior majoring in kinesiology, scored the only try (goal) on Cal Poly Humboldt’s side. It was her third career goal, having previously played one semester.
“[The most exciting part is] sprinting down the line, the adrenaline pumping because you don’t know if someone’s behind you or not, and you’re just gunning,” Bankerd said. “The crowd screaming and everything.”