Women’s Rugby Heads To State Championships

Women's Rugby Heads To State Championships

Sidney Jones

In 1981, women’s rugby at Colgate University competed in their first intercollegiate rugby football game. 25 years later, led by seniors Christine Susienka, Sara Avni, Jessica Minck and Talia Cmyalo, the Colgate University Women’s Rugby Football Club completed the most successful turn around in New York State Rugby Conference history.

In danger of relegation to New York State’s lesser Division III one year ago, the team baffled its Division II counterparts in 2006, transposing a 1-4 league mark into a 4-1 record this fall. Having dropped their league opener on the road, the women defeated four consecutive opponents by a combined score of 85-0.

Much of the team’s transformation can be attributed to the play of juniors Jamie Breedlove, Kara Culgin, Carla Jacobs, Sydney Jones and Amanda “Willie” Williams. Another difference from last hear is the increased experience of sophomores Lisa Hummel, Alexandra Fay and Gabriella Jones-Casey. But without any debate, the biggest change is the addition of first time rugby players and first-year students Megan Heise, Hannah Feldman and Samantha Zuhlke.

One other change from the 2005 campaign is the creation of the Women’s Rugby Football Club’s second side, dubbed the “Lady Juggernauts.” So far this fall, the Lady Juggernauts have given the “big don’t argue” to Cornell, Syracuse, Siena, Hamilton College, Plattsburgh State and Albany. Many of the Lady Juggernauts have stepped directly onto the first side as injury replacements to veterans such as senior leaders Erika Rader and Club President, Madeleine Adams.

Some of the Lady Juggernauts to lace up the boots this fall include sophomores Alyson Asiello, Lindsay Jacobsen, and Kathleen Woodwick as well as first-years Abby Byrne, Elena Dowling, Ashley Dronsfield, Shae Frydenlund, Emily Grose, Myra Guevara, Kate “the Gunner” Gundersen, Madeleine MacNeil, Laura McDonald, Danielle Mercado, Brittany Messenger, Kelly Motta, Clarissa Polk, Jen Rusciano and Rachel Wang.

Next up for the rugby team is the State Championship semifinal against Brockport State College, hosted by St. Lawrence University.