By Derek Stiles
Elm Staff Writer
This upcoming Saturday on April 25, Washington College’s rugby club will be commemorating their 25th anniversary as alumni return to campus to watch the team compete.
The team didn’t always compete on campus. They dealt with their fair share of obstacles in becoming a mainstay of WC’s athletic clubs.
“Our biggest obstacle at the time was athletic director Geoffrey Miller,” co-founder of the rugby club Seth Engel ‘93 said. “He was against us starting the club and objected from the very beginning. He refused to let us even practice much less play games on campus. He also tried to block our initial funding.”
Eventually the club secured funding from John Naundorm, owner of Newt’s Hillside Bar, and convinced Miller to approve the club with the help of a former dean.
“Once it got off the ground, we always had new people come out each year,” Engel said. “We were an inclusive club. We welcomed players from all parts of campus- we had Lit House types, frat guys, drama guys, independents like myself, international students, and we managed to poach a couple of lacrosse players and at least one basketball player.”
Despite the obstacles they’ve faced, the legacy of the club’s creation remains strong today as this year’s team went 6-2 during the regular season and advanced to the league’s semifinal as the No. 2 seed. WC eventually fell to Susquehanna, who went on to win the league and reach the national sweet sixteen.
“What makes our team very unique is that we are the only team in our conference without a coach,” club president and senior Donald Moran said. “We are entirely student run, coached, and administrated. We delegate leaders to go to coaching meetings, referee meetings, and other league responsibilities.”
Moran has run practices for the past two years as their search for a head coach has gone unsuccessful. Despite no coach, it’s evident that the rugby club has continued to thrive despite the obstacles they faced and members hope that trend can continue.
“It will take great leadership from the future underclassmen and more interest from the student body to recruit more players and move the club forward into the rugby world,” said Morah.