BYU Women’s Rugby is excited to have a fresh start this Fall 2021 season with a team that consists of 80% new players.
“I’m excited because since 80% of the team is new, that means that this sport is expanding,” Kate Rugg, a senior from Utah, studying Elementary Education said. “More people are learning rugby and learning how awesome it is, and I am really excited to play with these girls because they are picking it up fast and they are really dedicated.”
Assistant Coach Sia Skipps-Gomez said that the high turnover rate is due to players going on missions and said this year was harder due to the number of players gone, but welcomes all the new players and sees it as an advantage.
“It’s nice because it gives us the opportunity to structure our team however we want for the upcoming season because everyone is new,” Gomez said.
She said that practices are teaching the basics, and is excited to play games this season and to prepare for Spring, where their games count for the National Championship.
“I never knew BYU had a rugby team,” Paige Mazon, a freshman from Oregon studying History said.
She is one of the players who is brand new to rugby and the team. She said she never saw her self-playing rugby, but was encouraged to try out, and was unsure because she only did cheer and track in high school.
“I was kind of hesitant at first because I never played this type of sport before and especially this much of a contact sport,” Mazon said. “I was really frustrated at first because I did not know what was going on…but I’ve been learning…and these girls here are amazing and super encouraging. Everyone is willing to help each other out.”
Gomez, who played at BYU for five years and has been coaching at her alma mater for three years said that she really likes the game of rugby, and that as a coach she focuses on making a change within the player and the program.
“I always say ‘It’s not the coaches’ program, it’s the players’ program,’” Gomez said.
Head Coach Tom Waqa said that this program doesn't really belong to anyone other than BYU. He said that the program provides more opportunities for female students at the university and that it is here to help and assist players to progress through graduation.
“This BYU program is bigger than any of us, and we as coaches and players must do what we can to take care of it and build on its reputation," he said.
Their preseason games started Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
Home games can be streamed LIVE on YouTube: https://youtu.be/C-BJvYHrV6g
For more information follow the team on Twitter and Instagram @BYUWomensRugby