Rugby finishes fourth at State

Facing SE Polk and Dowling, Sunday, Oct. 27 in Ankeny, the CF girl’s rugby team walked away with a fourth place state finish and a season’s worth of memories.

Senior Piper Victoria said that despite the losses on Sunday, the team’s growth was very clear. “We grew so much as a team in the end, and we played our best rugby of the season,” Victoria said.

Sophomore Susannah Church said her first state experience was intense but nonetheless an amazing experience. “I’ve never pushed myself so physically hard,” Church said. “It was a good and frustrating thing. I am so proud of my team. When you get faced with teams that are very challenging to you, it can bring out the best and the worst of what your team is made of. The bonding that can happen at moments like this is such a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

After losing to 21-7 to the No. 1-ranked SE Polk during the regular season, Church said the team spent time evaluating film to find that team’s weaknesses as well discover their own mistakes in the game to prevent them from happening again.

Sophomore Morgan Linck said there were multiple aspects of their game they wanted to focus on. “Our game plan as a team was to attack on defense, stay spread out and to keep our heads up and play tough,” Linck said. “Earlier after losing to them we needed to work on staying aggressive and spread out on both offense and defense.”

The Tigers lost to SE Polk 12-15 in Ankeny on Sunday, but made tremendous improvements since facing them the first time. CF later lost to Dowling, 5-30, in the battle for third place.

Even after facing these losses, the team is looking forward to competing at an even higher level in years to come.

“This year we have already grown so much,” Church said, “All I have to say is ‘Watch out SE Polk’ because next year and the year after that, we will be stronger than ever.”

Linck, as well as Church, sees the potential for this team to make a deeper run in the tournament in the years to come. “Throughout the season we really grew as a team and even being a first-year team we really grew and we had the mindset of winning and growing our knowledge. In the future, the team is going to grow so much because there will be more experienced players. The team will grow and maybe become state champions as the years progress,” Linck said.

Church said the bond between her fellow teammates is what made this season so significant. “The group of girls that I had the privilege to play with are the best teammates I could have ever asked for. They made me a better athlete and helped me push myself to my fullest potential,” Church said.

The meaning of “team” has played a pivotal role in Church’s rugby season and has been a huge part of her motivation to battle on the field. “No matter what the score is or who you are facing, the only thing that matters is that you personally are giving your 100 percent on the field because it’s no longer about you. It’s about your team,” Church said.

Leaving the team, won’t be easy for the seniors. Victoria said that she hopes the team will continue on with their successes moving forward from the first year. “I hope that with the confidence in the team that everyone gained this year, they dominate next year. Seniors are leaving this team with such amazing girls, teammates, and rugby players. They will run our team and continue the wins, hopefully taking us even farther in the state championships next year,” Victoria said.

Reciprocating the love of her teammates, more specifically, her seniors, Church said the team is losing some influential leaders from this year’s senior class. “They were amazing leaders and were so supportive throughout the season,” Church said. “I will miss the passion that they had for the team. With them being seniors, it was their last year to experience CF Girls Rugby and you could tell, because they gave it everything they had and that gave me something to look up to.”

The first year CF Girls Rugby team is a tight knit team with big goals going into the next few years. Victoria reflected on the season and is thankful for the opportunity. “I finally found a team sport that I seriously enjoy. I looked forward to practices, loved the games, and I loved all of the people I got to meet from it. It is so special and I am forever grateful that I got to be a part of the first girls rugby team at Cedar Falls,” Victoria said.

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