National Small College Rugby Organization LLC: Latest News: Wayne State College Women Repeat as the Small College National Champion

Wayne Stat2013 Women's National Champion
Wayne State College - 2013 National Champion
Wednesday, November 27
Wayne State College Women Repeat as the Small College National Champion

Cherry Hill, NJ - Nov. 23-24

Despite frigid conditions on Saturday and even colder conditions on Sunday due to strong winds, the perseverance and heart of rugby players and fans made for an exciting weekend of Small College rugby. Wayne State College (Wayne, Nebraska), the 2012 National Champion returned to Cherry Hill (yes…another 1300 mile / 24 hour bus ride) to defend its title. In the end the Wildcats returned to school – once again – as the NSCRO Small College National Champion.

It started in early September when 69 teams representing 10 Unions/Conference took the pathway to become NSCRO’s “best of the best”…in the end only 4 teams were left standing. In addition to Wayne State’s return as the West Region Champion, the 2012 National runner up Roger Williams University (Bristol, RI) qualified for the Championship after winning the Colonial Coast Conference and then beating the Empire Upstate Champion, the University of Rochester, 22-7 in the New England Empire Region Championship. In the other 2 Regions, Smith College (Northampton, MA), the New England Wide CRC Champion, defeated the top 2 NERFU teams, Franklin Pierce University and the University of New England in the Northeast Region, while the East Penn RU Champion Millersville University (Lancaster, PA) beat the Tri-State Conference Champion, Sacred Heart University and Ohio Conference Champion, Kenyon College to win the Mid-Atlantic Region.

On Saturday, the first semifinal match saw Smith College face off against Roger Williams University (RWU) under the watchful eye of referee Merri Gardner (East Penn RRS). Three minutes after the kick-off, Smith’s powerful center, Seneca Lee, broke 3 tackles to score from 20m out to give Smith a 5-0 lead. RWU’s forwards put Smith under constant pressure and No. 8 Sadia Crosby broke a tackle to tie the match with a try at 5-5. The rest of the first half was scoreless as both teams found their attacks stymied by good defense. In the second half the score remained tied until Smith’s flanker Malia Charter powered over from a ruck to give Smith a 10-5 lead with 17 minutes left. Smith kept the pressure on and added tries by flyhalf Rachel Desrochers and prop Cam Fear to pull ahead 20-5. A try at the end by RWU’s lock Marie Giustino left the final result as 20-10 in Smith’s favor.

Wayne State took on East Penn powerhouse Millersville in the next semifinal with referee Anna McMahan (New England RRS) in charge. The Wildcats from Nebraska put pressure on Ville’s defense from the start with their forward’s pick’n’gos. Center Maggie Warrick, the 2012 Championship MVP, scored through the stretched defense just 2 minutes into the match. Maggie did so against a few minutes later and with flyhalf’s Kaylee Freese’s conversion Wayne State was up 12-0. The ladies from Millersville began to assert themselves and just before halftime, replacement winger Aizhane Padgett, scored a fine try and with Melissa Carpino’s conversion, the half ended 12-7. In the second half, both teams were primed to attack but it was the Wildcat’s second rower Julianne Wilke’s try after 10 minutes that opened the scoring. In the last 20 minutes, the Wildcats were relentless adding 4 more tries, two by winger Alex Feeley leading Wayne State to a 41-7 victory.

On Sunday, both Millersville and Roger Williams looked to rebound from Saturday’s losses in the third place match. With sub-zero temperature and wind speeds up to 20 MPH, conditions were hard on everyone. But this is rugby and we do what it takes. Unfortunately, RWU had injuries to a number of key players on Saturday and had to reshuffle their lineup. Millesville’s center Sarah Frey’s 80 meter run right after kickoff was a beauty putting Ville up 5-0. The rest of the half saw both teams move up and down the field. Ville’s standout flanker Brandi Tipton scored a try to extend their lead to 10-0. RWU’s stalwart no.8 Sadia Crosby would not be stopped as she powered in for a try leaving the halftime score 10-5 in Ville’s favor. Ville opened the second half scoring with a penalty goal by Melissa Carpino (yes second rows can kick…though I couldn’t). Winger Brooke Langton scored on a nice run and Carpino added the conversion to give Ville a 20-5 lead 10 minutes into the half. Another penalty goal by Carpino and tries by No. 8 Rebecca Davis and a second try from Sarah Frey ended the match 33 to 5 earning Millersville a 3rd place finish.

When referee Anna McMahan’s whistle started the Championship final, both Smith and Wayne State players were ready to play. Wayne stopped Smith’s early advance and went on a relentless attack inside the Smith 22m zone ending with a try by Jasmine Kovacs at the 10 minute mark. Five minutes late Smith mounted a strong attack that led to what is best described as a “forwards try” by prop Atema Addy - her first career try came at the right. Both teams had their moments on attack but both defenses were up to the task. Wayne’s Kaylee Freese notched a penalty goal to make it 8-5 at halftime. The second half was a true battle. Both teams showed why they deserved to be in this Championship match. It wasn’t until 8 minutes left that the talented Maggie Warrick dotted down to give the Wildcats an 8 point lead at 13-5. Smith was unable to respond with points of their own. Just prior to the final whistle, replacement Kayla Lavalais scored a try ending the match at 18 to 5. Wayne State had successfully defended their title. Both teams left the field of play with heads held high with mutual respect for the other and to the applause of the fan…all of which was well earned.

All matches were made available to the public via free live streaming. There were nearly 3000 total connections for both days and with many viewers watching on one connection, the audience total was likely well in excess of 10,000. Live streaming was provided by Ashley Cameron through

DVDs of all 4 of the championship matches are professionally produced by BC Productions and are available for sale for a limited time. Go to to download an order form today. Sunday’s match DVDs will also include the Awards Ceremony.

World Rugby Shop continues to be an outstanding partner of NSCRO and supporter of small college rugby. NSCRO thanks Brad Kilpatrick of WRS and his team for their support. Please visit for all of your rugby needs and Christmas gifts as well as the WRS’s NSCRO Store at as proceeds for sales help support NSCRO.

This outstanding event could not have been possible without the following support:
The Philadelphia Women’s Rugby Club led by Rose Dillon for hosting the event.
   For more info about the club, go to
The South Jersey Rugby Club led by Pete Hesler for providing this fine venue.
   For more info about the club, go to
Video coverage by Roberto Albarracin and Jonathan Fontz of BC Productions.
   For more info about BC Productions, go to
The broadcast team of Ines Rodriguez and Matt Robinette.
Ashley Cameron and Live Sports Video Network for streaming the matches.
   For more info about LSV, go to
Referees Anna MacMahan, Merri Gardner, Pete Hesler and Jason Skipworth.
Assistant Referees Jason Skipworth, Don McAlpine and Richard Cobb.
Dr. Katie Gollotto and her team of sports medicine physicians.
Certified Athletic Trainers Jayme Levine and Don Smith of Elite Athletic Training Services.
Todd Bauders and Contrast Photography.

NSCRO understands the importance in recognizing the accomplishments of the fine student-athletes who have worked long and hard to reach the pinnacle of Small College rugby success. In addition to Player Awards, all 4 teams were provided with NSCRO trophies and gift certificates from World Rugby Shop.

Player Awards were presented as follows: NSCRO Medals (gold, silver and bronze) were awarded to the players on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams.

NSCRO "Heart & Soul" Award – a match ball was given to a player(s) on each team who was been an inspiration and significant contributor to the club both on and off the field. The match ball is to be signed by her teammates in appreciation of what she has meant to the club. The following recipients were honored in this way:
   Roger Williams University – Mikaela Feroli
   Millersville University – Christina Houck
   Smith College – Cam Fear and Rachel Desrochers
   Wayne State College – Emily Atkinson and Bonnie Sisco

During this weekend NSCRO had a committee of 3 persons evaluating the players for selection to the All-NSCRO Championship XV as well as providing recommendations to the USAR Women’s Collegiate All-American program. Last year WCAA Head Coach, Martha Daines, attended this event. This weekend she was in France with the WCAA team featuring 3 NSCRO players and thus could not be here. The committee consisted of Kristin Aliberto, Emily Tunney and Kate Hallinan

The "All-NSCRO Championship XV" was selected with each receiving a trophy, a custom designed NSCRO t-shirt (courtesy of World Rugby Shop) and a Philadelphia Women’s RFC t-shirt recognizing their selection as follows:
   Prop – Anna Jiminez, Smith
   Hooker – Roxann Cuda, Roger Williams
   Prop – Cam Fear, Smith
   2nd Row – Julianne Wilke, Wayne State
   2nd Row – Felica Pursche, Wayne State
   Back Row – Amber Kutnink, Wayne State
   Back Row – Brandi Tipton, Millersville
   Back Row – Sadia Crosby, Roger Williams
   Scrumhalf – Jasmine Kovacs, Wayne State
   Flyhalf – Kaylee Freese, Wayne State
   Center – Seneca Lee, Smith
   Center – Sarah Frey, Millersville
   Wing – Alex Feeley, Wayne State
   Wing – Lisa Rayford, Smith
   Fullback – Sarah-Rose Oberman-Breindel, Smith

Amber Kutnink of Wayne State was selected as the Championship MVP.

Photos shown taken by Contrast Photography.

2013 Smith V Wayne State
Wayne State's Emily Atkinson wraps up Smith's Gretchen Streett in the Final