The women’s rugby team at Johnson State in Vermont didn't expect much going into their inaugural season in Division 4.
“Our first game we had seven rookies and six of them had never even seen a rugby ball before,” says Molly Banks, co-captain of the team.
However, on November 20 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Johnson State defeated Albright College 12-5 for the NSCRO Division 4 National Championship. Molly Banks joins Bill Littlefield to discuss the team’s unexpected rise to the top.
“It was a little tricky,” Banks says of her team’s championship run. “We really pulled together as a team. We had a fantastic coach. And we really just learned how to play the game, learned how to work together as a team to accomplish victory.”
Getting together 15 women to field a full side proved to be a challenge for the team; they had to recruit players on a campus with fewer than 2,000 students.
Unlike a typical rugby squad, “Most of our team’s actually really, really small,” she says.
The Badgers put together a winning combination, though, and they’re already looking forward to the future of their team. But it will be tough to top the extraordinary accomplishments of their inaugural season.
“Hopefully next season will also be incredible,” Banks says. “But this season really was a storybook season. We never, ever expected to win nationals. We always just came to practice to exercise and have fun and learn how to play a new game.”
According to their coach, Don Allen, “You can't start any lower and get any higher.”
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