The Colorado College Cutthroat Rugby team recently returned from their fourth straight appearance at the National Championship, this year taking place in Pittsburgh, Penn., where they finished No. 14 place.
Their streak of national championship appearances coincides with the team’s move from the Division II league to the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO). Cutthroat Rugby lost to the eventual champion Wayne State University team, but the trip to Pittsburg was still full of good memories.
“It was a bit of a disappointing outcome,” co-captain Sophie Redpath ’19 said. “But we had a lot of fun, rolled in a lot of mud, and generally made fools of ourselves. We had a great time and the team is as tight as ever.”
It was a sevens tournament, but 12 Cutthroat members made the trip. Once a player is substituted out of the game, they must remain out for the remainder of the game. Unless they are bleeding, in which case a “blood substitution” is used and the initial player is allowed to return once they stop bleeding.
Rugby is played in two different seasons, with 15s taking place during the fall, and sevens being played in the spring. Fifteens is a larger and longer game, with 15 players from each team playing two, 40-minute halves. Sevens is only played with seven players from each team and is played in two, seven minutes halves. Other than the number of players and length of the game, the rest of rugby rules remain the same.
This past fall, the 15s team made it to regionals where they finished in ninth place. Despite now being members of NSCRO, Cutthroat still participates in some local DII tournaments.
“A couple of weeks ago, we played in a DII tournament in Ft. Collins and won the whole tournament, which was really cool and really fun to be a part of,” Redpath said.
The team refers to themselves as Cutthroat Rugby to be inclusive of gender, as not all of their players identify as female. They still play in a women’s league but do not identify themselves as a women’s team. Many of the players have found a home on the team and have fond memories of playing together.
Despite missing this season with a torn ACL, co-captain Rachel Fitch ‘19 received support from the whole team. “My favorite part of rugby are the people who play and the memories we make,” Fitch said. “Everyone is so vibrant, and I can’t count how many times someone made me laugh. At the end of nationals, the pitch was extremely muddy. So after our last game, everyone slid on their stomachs through the mud. We took the mud fight to the sideline where a mud slip-and-slide was built with the other teams cheering each player that belly-slid. There was so much mud and so many smiles.”
Although Redpath and Fitch are graduating next week, their rugby careers do not have to end. Redpath has played with a semi-pro team in New York over the summer, and may return, but several other alumni who have stayed in the region have joined a team in Glendale, Colo..
The rest of the team will recruit new players and begin their Fall 15s season during Block 1.