Women’s Club Rugby team makes incredible progress after two years of inactivity

The team has become a tight-knit group, building strong bonds on and off the rugby pitch.

Over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted Elon’s community and opportunities. Amongst many things that were affected by the pandemic, Elon’s Club Women’s Rugby team was one program fighting for survival. During the “social hiatus” of fall 2020, the club sports team unfortunately disbanded without the opportunity to meet, practice and compete.

However, this summer, four students — Caroline Moses ’24, Margaux McBride ’24, Josie McWhorter ’24 and Delaney McDowell ’25 — came together with hopes of starting up the team again. They wanted to provide a space and community for other young women to learn and play rugby. The four navigated through various hurdles but were able to build the team from the ground up, making it a collaborative effort.

The women’s club rugby team in a scrum during a game.

Many other students showed interest in joining the team, despite most having no rugby experience. Although Moses and McBride are the only team members who knew how to play before this fall, observing the team at practice, one would have no idea that most players just picked up the sport.

Practices are full of high-intensity gameplay, perfecting technical skills and, most importantly, cheering each other on. Asked to comment on the team’s progress, Emerson Wells ’23, said, “Everyone is coming from the same base level of understanding, or a lack of understanding, about rugby. So, it’s been cool to all be on the same page and all grow from not knowing anything to now being able to play a game.”

In talking to team members, it was clear that regardless of whether they had even heard of rugby before this fall, each member was glad to have it in their life. This fall, the team has become a tight-knit community, having fun on and off the rugby pitch through paint nights, surprise birthday parties and team dinners. A few people referred to the team as a family, and in talking to various members, this is certainly a shared sentiment— the bond and sense of community the members have is strong.

Both new and seasoned team members discussed the physical and mental benefits of being a part of a club sports team, ranging from stress relief, getting in better shape, gaining leadership skills and confidence, and having a sense of community.

“It actually has helped my mental health a lot; coming to practice is the highlight of my week because I know that I’m going to have a good time and I always leave feeling better than when I came in,” said Ivy Montague ’23.

Niya Kelly ’25 adds to this, explaining that her first year of college had its rough patches but that now with the club in her life, she feels like she has found her place at Elon.

Despite most players being first-timers on the rugby pitch, the team has made many advances and has even won against other women’s teams in games. With a new coach helping improve the team’s technique, their next goal is to have enough players to do 15-a-side games, or 15s, in the spring semester. Sam Schwamberger ’23, comments on the team’s progress, expressing how important it is to have both women’s and men’s club rugby teams on campus.

“Rugby has been a huge part of my life, so to be able to experience it with Elon is really fun, and I’ve met some pretty amazing people,” said Margaux McBride ’24.

If you are interested in joining the Women’s Club Rugby team, contact Caroline Moses, the club president, at cmoses@elon.edu. Regardless of any prior experience, there is a spot for anyone and everyone willing to learn.