Though falling short of top title at State, rugby team walks aways cherishing milestones, memories

 The No. 1-ranked women’s rugby team fell short of their expectations at Memorial Stadium in Waterloo on Sunday, Oct. 24,  finishing fourth at the state tournament .
Senior Morgan Linck joined the first girls’ rugby team her sophomore year thanks to the encouragement of her dad. Three years later, Linck said that the team has definitely learned from one another and gradually progressed. “This year I think was the best year ever. We finally beat South East Polk and Des Moines Roosevelt. We didn’t have the ending that we had hoped for, but that didn’t change the way the rest of the season went,” she said. 

Linck said plays are made to attack gaps that are made in between defense lines and to get the ball moving from that point. If the plays are made correctly, the ball will “fire” down the diagonal line of girls. 

Due to there being no pads or headgear, high tackles are considered penalties and result in an advantage to the opposing team. Forward passes result in a scrum: a large huddle of six individual players, pushing against each other in an attempt to win the ball. 

During practices, the group of girls would condition and work on communication skills. Every practice leading up to State was aiming for the gold. “The coach, Brent, has taught me so much. He formed a new team from knowing nothing about rugby to being No. 1 in the state. He has been so dedicated to this team, and his amazing work has allowed more girls to get the great experience of playing rugby. Brent is by far the best coach ever,” Linck said. 

Linck, who has been awarded an elite team player award, was interviewed by the local news as well. “It was fun being interviewed. I like spreading the word about rugby to get more people involved because it’s a very fun sport,” she said. 

Linck said the weather at State was awful. The cold rain made it difficult for the whole state to perform well. South East Polk ended up winning the title. 

Senior Maegan Wells first joined the team in 2019, along with Linck. Wells started playing because it seemed fun and a few of her friends were interested in playing. Wells said she immediately fell in love with the sport. “The first year of rugby was a lot of fun. We became a family very fast, and we were able to learn a new sport together,” Wells said. 

Wells said a negative about playing is watching the seniors leave. “It’s always very sad because they are moving on to bigger things and will no longer play for our team. There are always a lot of tears at the end of the season when we realize it was our last game playing with those seniors. This year was especially hard for me because I am a senior,” she said.  

Both Linck and Wells plan on playing rugby later in life, possibly in college. “Joining rugby has brought a bigger light into my life. It is so amazing and fun. I loved the bonds I made with people and the different people I met,” Linck said. 

“Rugby is something that has always made me so happy, and I can’t imagine not continuing to play,” Wells said.

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