WAYNE – The Wayne State College women’s rugby team returned after being crowned National Champions for the seventh year. WSC was a three-time champion in 7’s from 2014-2016 and now twice, a two-time champion in 15’s (2012-2013/2016-2017).
The team has been on the road for the past five-days, traveling last Wednesday and Thursday before playing games on Saturday and Sunday and coming back to Wayne Monday afternoon.
The charter bus entered the City of Wayne near Victor Park at about 12:43 p.m. and a few minutes later was greeted by fans and members of the media near the Kanter Student Center.
With the wind blowing strong, and cool weather, the team made their way into the Student Center near the cafeteria entrance for pictures and an update on the trip.
Head coach and founder of WSC rugby, Darrin Barner said even with the 17-12 lead at the half of the championship match, he gave his team the speech at intermission.
“It’s 0-0 going into the second half, it was back and forth,” said Barner. “The nice thing is that we’re the first team to score and they answered back and it teeter-tottered, then we put in a couple in at the end. A very evenly matched game.”
WSC defeated Gustavus Adolphus College 78-7 on Saturday and beat Bentley University 46-26 in the 15’s National Championship match.
The Wildcats graduated 12 from their 2016, 15’s National Championship and this year seven seniors played in their final Fall games.
Senior scrum half Leanna Rosberg and senior fly half Sam Warneke both said it felt amazing coming back from Georgia winning again.
“We put a lot of work into the team this year,” Warneke added. “I’m proud of how much work they did and what we showed down at Nationals.”
“I’m very proud of everyone,” Rosberg mentioned. “We played hard and never gave up and just played as a team like we’ve always had this whole year.”
Rosberg will be a part of the Spring team, studying Business Management and will graduate in Spring of 2018. Warneke will also graduate in the Spring of 2018 majoring in Exercise Science in Nutrition but will be interning this next spring.
Rosberg was crowned MVP of the Tournament while Warneke received the Heart & Soul honor for Wayne State College. Other Wildcats listed on the All-Championship 15’s Team along with Rosberg and Warneke were Julia Baxter, Anna Fleecs, Turner MacPhee and Shelbi Brown.
“Since you’re losing quite a few girls you just got to step up and be a leader,” said Rosberg . “Just got to learn from this year and keep working, keep doing it.”
“Take what we’ve done this year as seniors and then they can pass it on,” Rosberg Warneke . “If they can just step up and keep going what we’ve been teaching them this whole season, then they’ll have a good shot of keep going.”
The Wayne State College women went 20-0 with wins over big programs such as Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and a challenge game with Kansas State.
“Rugby is really growing at Wayne State College,” said Barner. “You know the nucleus is just Nebraska high school girls that come out here. That’s the meat and potatoes, the nucleus of our program, just raw athletes from the Nebraska/Sioux City area.”
The Wayne State College men’s rugby team is Elite 8 bound in late March hosted in Wayne. WSC will take on the Texas/Oklahoma/Louisiana champion, with the winner advancing to the Final 4.