Rugby now an official Washburn club

Two years ago, a group of Washburn students came together to form a rugby team. It was not until this year that they became an official club with Washburn. Unlike other sports on campus, such as the football or volleyball team, the rugby team is not part of the NCAA. They are registered with a completely different organization known as USA Rugby.

Rugby originated in England in the early 1800s. It is a combination sport that brings components from soccer together with American football. The game is played with an oval shaped ball that is similar to a football, but it is significantly larger. Game play is similar to soccer in the sense that it is a continuous game until one team scores, which is done by running into the end zone and touching the ball to the ground for a true form of a “touchdown” than what you think about in football.

Caylee Lind was instrumental in helping form the rugby team at Washburn, along with playing on the team and helping keep track of all the logistics. Lind is the captain of recruiting, fundraising and volunteer work. Her main objective was getting the team registered as an official club with Washburn, which she has successfully accomplished this year. She now runs the recruiting aspect of the team and tries to get new players every year.

Lind couldn’t do all the work on her own. Alexus Chavez is a co-captain alongside Lind and works to schedule the 

games, get in contact with the other teams and officials and make sure everything is set up properly. 

   It may be somewhat surprising, but Lind  did not have any kind of a background in rugby prior to coming to Washburn. She was peer pressured into trying out for the team by her roommates her freshman year. Lind is the type of person that finishes what she starts. Therefore, she played the entire year and actually found out she loved the sport.

Lind spent a great deal of time watching YouTube videos and doing research to learn more about the game. Lind also participated in the men’s games because they have had a team formed for longer, and with that came more experience. Gradually, she learned enough to be able to teach it to others. 

With the team being two years old, there are players of various skill levels. Most of the experience comes from the top. Chavez has been playing for eight years now along with Lind, who has played three years.

One of the newer members who began playing last year is sophomore Shane Ellis.

“I found out [about the rugby team] because Caylee was one of the peer educators in my WU 101 class and she was like ‘oh I’m involved with this and this and this and rugby’ and I was like excuse me that sounds awesome and I kind of just went from there,” Ellis said.

Ellis loves the workout that rugby provides as well as the team aspect.

“It’s awesome. I think it’s one of the best sports in the world,” Ellis said. “It’s fun, it works out every muscle you can possibly imagine and its very team oriented.”

Not many people know about the rugby team, whether it be here at Washburn or otherwise, and may not realize how common it is.

“It’s actually pretty popular. Smaller schools probably don’t have rugby, but of course K-State does, even Nebraska-Omaha schools do,” Lind said. “There is a big conference in Arkansas, usually around this time, that we used to go to when we were joined with the Jayhawks (KU) and there were probably 25 teams that attended that conference. It’s a pretty big sport, it’s just that not many people know about it.”

Here at Washburn, all of the games take place on Saturdays, usually in the morning or in the mid-afternoon. 

Lind went to great lengths to help get the rugby team formed. Her goal was to capture the interest of students who wanted to participate in a sport and get a workout in without the commitment of collegiate athletics. This was the case for Lind when she came to Washburn. When she was roped into joining the rugby team she saw it as a great opportunity to capture that population of the student body here on campus.

Now, as an official club at Washburn, the rugby team will only continue to grow and prosper as time goes on.