The Post University women's rugby team will be joining the NCAA and the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) beginning in the Fall of 2020, the first season for the program.
The Eagles will join the NIRA at the D-II level. The D-II programs include Alderson Broaddus, American International College, Molloy, Notre Dame College, Queens University of Charlotte and West Chester University.
"Joining the NIRA shows how committed Post is to rugby," women's rugby head coach Jacob Dilts said. "This will also allow our athletes to compete at the high level of the sport, which is very exciting. There is no doubt that joining NIRA will be tough because there is a lot of good competition in the league. But, I've always been a competitor and I am excited for this opportunity to compete against some of the best teams and coaches out there."
"I think joining NIRA will grow the program because women want the opportunity to compete at the highest level. Six months ago not one girl woke up and said I want to play rugby at Post University because there wasn't a team yet, but I can guarantee six months ago there were girls who woke up wanting to play in the NIRA. Now we can provide an opportunity to those girls to come here and prove why they deserve to compete against some of the best competition in the nation."
Post University Athletic Director Ronnie Palmer echoed the sentiments of Dilts.
"With women's rugby being recognized as an emerging sport with the NCAA and Post University being in the middle of the NIRA footprint, made this an ideal sport to add to our department," Palmer said. "We are excited about developing under the NIRA umbrella and assisting with the vision that commissioner [Amy] Rusert and current NIRA members have to elevate the sport."
PHILIPPI, WV – The Alderson Broaddus women's rugby team will be moving into the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) in Fall 2020. The NIRA is the top governing body of the NCAA's collegiate women's rugby programs.
"We are moving in this direction because we feel it is the highest level of competition that we can move towards with our program, while also having very rigorous academic requirements for our players," said head coach Laura Miller.
The NIRA was originally founded in 2015 as the National Collegiate Varsity Women's Rugby Association. The NCVWRA had eight original members and was limited to NCAA institutions that sponsored varsity women's rugby programs. After a successful inaugural season, the NCVWRA changed their name to the NIRA.
"Since we started here, we have always been a varsity program, but we have competed in the National Small College Rugby Association, which is comprised of primarily club programs. We are moving into a league that is comprised of only NCAA-compliant teams, so the level of competition will skyrocket," said Miller.
Alderson Broaddus will become the 22nd member of the NIRA in Fall 2020. The league features three groups aligned according to NCAA membership.
This season, which will be their last season in the National Small College Rugby Association, The Lady Battlers dominated in their first tournament of the season by defeating the University of Pittsburgh B, Drexel, Stony Brook, and the University of Delaware B.
Article courtesy of govaliants.com
PURCHASE, N.Y. – The Manhattanville College Department of Athletics and Recreation and Director of Athletics, Julene Caulfield are pleased to announce today, Tuesday, March 3, the addition of women's rugby as the Valiants' 23rd varsity sport. Manhattanville has been accepted as a member of the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA).
"We are thrilled to continue to expand the athletic opportunities we offer to female student-athletes," said Caulfield. "Given the success of our current club rugby team and the growth of women's rugby across the nation, we are excited to make the transition to the NCAA Division III level."
Manhattanville joins the NIRA Division III developmental competition group, where the Valiants will compete against teams across all levels. NIRA is the sanctioned governing body for all of NCAA women's rugby and includes teams across Divisions I, II and III. Currently, there are eight Division I programs, five in Division II and seven in Division III. Manhattanville will become the eighth D-III member beginning this fall.
Since its inception as a club sport in 2015, women's rugby has seen a multitude of success. In just the last two seasons, the roster has grown by over 60 percent. Additionally, the Valiants were selected to compete in the 2019 Las Vegas International 7's Tournament.
Beginning in the fall of 2020, the team will make the transition to a NCAA Division III sponsored sport. Rugby is one of three emerging sports for women, which are intended to provide institutions with more opportunities for women in athletics. In order to achieve NCAA championship status, a sport needs to reach a minimum of 40 varsity programs – or show signs of steady progress – within the 10-year period of being declared an emerging sport.
"On behalf of NIRA, we are delighted to welcome Manhattanville women's rugby as our eighth Division III program," said Amy Rusert, NIRA Commissioner. "We look forward to working with Julene Caulfield and her staff in preparation for the Valiants' inaugural 2020 fall season. We are grateful for her vision and leadership in recognizing the value of rugby as an NCAA emerging sport for women."
Manhattanville is actively recruiting student-athletes for the fall 2020 season and applications to the College are currently being accepted. Visit Manhattanville College's admissions page at www.mville.edu/admissions for more information and to apply.
Additionally, with the move to varsity status, the Valiants immediately begin their search for a women's rugby head coach. All interested candidates can visit www.govaliants.com/jobs for more information and to apply.
Any other questions regarding women's rugby can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) Commissioner Amy Rusert announced Guilford College as the league's 20th member Thursday. The Quakers will start competition in the fall of 2020.
NIRA is the top governing body of women's college rugby in the United States and was founded in 2018. Comprised largely of private schools in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, NIRA administers scheduling for league members and sponsors divisional championships each fall.
"NIRA and our entire membership are thrilled to welcome Guilford's women's rugby team as the newest Division III member in 2020," Rusert said. "Guilford and Queens University of Charlotte are catalysts in expanding NIRA's footprint in the Southeast where we anticipate continued growth and expansion."
The league features three groups aligned according to NCAA divisional membership. Guilford becomes the seventh member of NIRA's Division III and first from the South region. The Quakers join Colby-Sawyer College, Bowdoin College, Norwich University, the University of New England, and New England College in NIRA's Division III.
"We are honored by the invitation to join with other institutions committed to excellence in the emerging sport of women's rugby," said Guilford President Jane Fernandes. "Spirited competition with exceptional colleges and universities is part of our effort to deliver the very best experience for Guilford's student-athletes."
"Guilford's NIRA membership demonstrates a commitment to providing a top-flight collegiate rugby experience," Quakers' head coach Emily Record said. "NIRA means legitimacy, a better quality of competition against like-minded institutions, consistent coaching, and access to facilities."
Guilford becomes NIRA's second member from North Carolina, joining Queens, which competes in the league's Division II.
The Quakers will participate in two round-robin tournaments for sevens this spring, including one at Queens April 5. Guilford begins spring practice March 2 and concludes the non-traditional spring season by hosting an April 19 competition.
Women's rugby was added as Guilford's 21st varsity sport in June 2019 and Record was hired the following August. The team started training last fall with practice three times a week and weightlifting twice a week.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Hosting college rugby's premier contest at Mignone Field, Harvard women's rugby rallied behind stellar defense to defeat Army West Point, 18-7, and secure its first varsity National Championship in program history.
Seniors Robyn Beese and Dominique Cantave and first-year Achele Agada recorded tries for the Crimson, which scored 18 consecutive points en route to the win. First-year Brogan Mior added a pivotal penalty kick which gave Harvard a lead it would not give up.
Following an Army try to open the contest, Beese got Harvard rolling when she charged through the teeth of the defense for a try to make the score 7-5. Behind at the break, Mior would convert a penalty kick for the Crimson midway through the second period to put the team out in front, 8-7.
Deep into the second half, Agada powered through a series of tackles by the Black Knights for a try to stretch the lead to 13-7. As time ran out and the scoreboard hit zero, Cantave went in for a try to solidify Harvard's championship win.
This is the third national championship for women's rugby at Harvard, as the women's rugby club team won national championships in 1998 and 2011, before being elevated to varsity status in 2013.
This marks the end of 15s season for the Crimson. They now head into the offseason before returning for 7s in the spring.
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - It was a cold and close battle as the West Chester Golden Rams women's rugby team came from behind to defeat Brown University 15-14 and claim the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association Tier II National Championship title for the first time in program history.
West Chester was ranked fifth in the NIRA Coaches' Poll in the preseason, but the Golden Rams did not let that stop them as they went undefeated throughout the regular season and into the playoffs, finishing 11-0.
The Golden Rams found themselves down 14-0 at halftime on Sunday. They could have packed it in there, wishing for a better game. Instead, they worked for it, coming out swinging in the second half.
The Golden Rams fell behind early as Brown's Zyana Thomas powered through the defense to earn a try for the Bears in the 12th minute. Following the successful conversion, Brown owned a 7-0 lead.
Penalties were a problem early on for the Golden Rams and continued into the 22nd minute. The Bears were on the charge when officials awarded them a penalty try. The penalty try led to seven points, giving Brown a 14-0 lead.
"Brown played incredible defense the first half and totally stifled our offense that is usually pretty potent," West Chester head coach Tony Deremer said. "At halftime we talked about never being out of the game. We were down several times this year."
After the team regrouped during halftime, the Golden Rams came out with fire to start the second half. Six minutes in, Lauren Madalian (Randolph, N.J. / Randolph High School) found an opening to run downfield and then pitched the rock to Corinne Gallagher (Coatesville, Pa. / Coatesville) who marched in to score the first try of the day for the Golden Rams, cutting Brown's lead to 14-5.
The Golden Rams' offense continued to chip into Brown's lead in the 62nd minute when senior co-captain Haley Spangler (Gettysburg, Pa. / Gettysburg) scored the team's second try of the day. The score stood at 14-10 Brown.
"After our second try you could feel the confidence grow in the team," DeRemer said, "and we started making big hits on defense and started getting better ball possession."
The Bears were unable to hold the lead for much longer as the Golden Rams turned to their 2019 leader in tries, sophomore Autumn Czaplicki (Pillow, Pa / Line Mountain High School). Czaplicki found an opening to breakaway for the eventual game-winning try in the 66th minute. The try was her 13th of the season, placing her in the Top 10 in program history with 25 tries in only two seasons.
Following the try, the Golden Rams played a defensive game into the final 10 minutes of play. While the Bears mounted strong offense, West Chester stood unflappable, preventing the Bears from reaching the try line.
"When we scored our third try," DeRemer said, "we knew we could hold on to win. The girls really held off a strong and athletic Brown team."
Following the match, Madalian was named Most Valuable Player for her speed and ability to break loose in open field. Her breakaway leading to the try by Gallagher shifted momentum in favor of the Golden Rams.
West Chester now owns an overall postseason record of 18-10 with three EPRU titles, a pair of Mason-Dixon titles and now, an NIRA Tier II title to its credit. The program's success in its 13-year history is due in no small part to head coach Tony DeRemer who has been the program's head coach since it was elevated to varsity status. DeRemer now stands at an overall record of 132-71-3 during his tenure with West Chester.
The Golden Rams will look to continue their success this spring as they compete in rugby 7's for the fourth consecutive season.