Girls’ Rugby Ramps it Up for Another Season


The 2021-2022 State High Girls’ Rugby team poses in uniform. Photo courtesy of Aaron Biver.

Alex Antoniono, Staff Writer

After past years filled with achievements, the State High Girls Rugby Club is gearing up for another season of success this year. Last year the team combined with Hollidaysburg and traveled to Washington, D.C., where they placed second in Ruggerfest with over 100 points throughout the course of four games.

The season itself starts in the winter and continues throughout the spring, with a few days of rugby camp occurring in the fall. The team recently concluded their fall camp with great success.

Senior Kailani Stroup, who has been on the team since sophomore year, talks about the future of rugby in their upcoming season.

“This year…I don’t know what to expect,” says Stroup. “[It’s] kind of a wild card, but you know what, that makes it more fun.”

Natalie Roan, team captain, feels hopeful for the team’s upcoming season.

“We had a pretty good season [last year] and are hoping to have another good one this year,” she said.

For those who are new to the world of rugby, here’s a quick rundown of how the sport is played. First and foremost, the most basic law of the game is that a player cannot throw the ball forward, it must be thrown sideways or backward. Rugby is a full-contact sport but the players don’t wear shoulder pads or helmets. This is because the nature of the game involves techniques that make the impact more safe. The game is played on a rectangular field over the course of two 40-minute halves, with a maximum of ten minutes of break for half-time.

The girls’ rugby team at State High is composed of around 30 girls, which creates a very tight-knit community. Additionally, the girls on the rugby team find the sport to be rewarding. Stroup talks about how she finds rugby to be special because of the bonds she is able to build with the people who are important to her.

“My mom really loves me being in a sport because it gets her out and able to find pride in something that I can do, which…it’s special that I can do that for my mom,” she says. “It’s also where me and my best friend Josie bond, and we got a lot of like, friendship points from that sport.”

Additionally, Stroup says that for her, “the intrinsic feeling of knocking someone to the ground” is one of the most rewarding parts of the sport. “[You] basically just run around and wack people until you get the ball to the other side and win,” she laughs.

The rugby team at State High is a no-cut sport. They are committed to providing athletic opportunities to all students, no matter their skill level or experience.  Stroup strongly encourages anyone interested to consider getting involved with the team.

“Do it! Do it! Just join! Go ahead,” she says. “Yeah, I’ll like wack you and it’ll be fun and we’ll laugh and stuff!”

Stroup admits that although State High isn’t “the craziest team out there,” they do it to have fun, “which I think is one of the most important things,” she says.

If you’re considering joining the team for this winter and spring, be on the lookout for informational meetings to meet other players and learn more about the game.