As fall sports teams returned to campus in August and began to practice for their upcoming season with conditioning programs and strategic film sessions, Colgate Rugby Coach David Chapman had a different idea. On Thursday morning the men’s and women’s teams met at Academy Field to participate in the USA Rugby Referee L100 course.
“[The] purpose of the USA Rugby Level 100 Referee Clinic was to provide each participant with a better understanding of the laws of the game while also gaining a deeper respect of the work of referees,” Coach David Chapman, who is a certified match official, said.
“The amount of work and information our student-athletes did leading up to the clinic provided a more intimate knowledge of rugby,” Chapman said. “We had great educators leading the clinic, Doug Syme (East Penn Referee Society), USA Rugby Referee Performance Evaluator Tom Barr and Terry Haas ’73.”
With over half this year’s team consisting of first-years and sophomores, many of whom had never played rugby before coming to Hamilton, the lessons learned on the field Thursday were invaluable, students said.
“Being able to work with such a distinguished referee as Terry Haas was a real honor,” said sophomore Ben Pelino, who showed promise as the Sir in a 10 v. 10 exhibition match at the end of the day.
The year is shaping up to be incredibly important for both the men’s and women’s sides as they look to establish their presence both on campus and in the national rugby scene. The men’s side will begin their second season in Division 1 this year after being in the lower divisions for the past decade. With a young team, they will hope to improve over their top division debut last season. Their regular season will get underway on September 1 as they visit Cornell University in the annual match for the Claret Mug. The women will look to build upon last year’s 13th place finish in the National Small College Rugby Organization and will open their season on September 1 at Rochester.
According to Coach Chapman, confidence in the rebuilding process is strong.
“Our men and women of both programs are very excited for the upcoming season having returned a significant amount of experience,” he said. “Last year was considered a rebuilding year due to the caliber of players who had graduated in 2017. However, our student-athletes who graduated in the Class of 2018 did a phenomenal job of developing our younger players and promoting strong communities for both programs.”
For those looking to play for either team, no experience is necessary, and first-year practices will be held on August 30 and 31 on Academy Field. For further questions about the men’s team, reach out to Benji Pratley ([email protected]), and for inquiries about the women’s side, reach out to Shelley Liu ([email protected]).
Contact Gideon Hamot at [email protected]