This month’s Club Sport of the Month is Women’s Rugby. Last month, three members of the club were given the opportunity to participate in several USA Rugby South events. Kimberly Knipe, the team’s coach, participated in the NACRA DHL Barbados Seven Championships in Barbados, where the women’s team placed 4th overall. Also, two members of the team, Morgan Koon and Hilari Tribble were selected to represent Georgia Southern in the U19 South Women’s Championship Roster, which also held a tournament on November 19 and 20th in Fort Lauderdale,Florida.
I had a chance to sit down with Kimberly and talk about the awesome success that this club has had.
What is a tradition your team has?
After every match, it is a team tradition to select an MVP (this is usually an extremely difficult task). Another team tradition is that we host an annual Prom Dress Match in which both teams dress up in prom dresses or formal gowns (usually from Goodwill) and play good ol’ fashioned rugby. This year our match will be March 31st against College of Charleston at home. It is a riot to watch!
What is your favorite thing about playing Club Sports at Georgia Southern?
My favorite thing about Club Sports at GSU would have to be our immaculate facilities and working with Steve Sanders and Emilie Buzhardt. They help us stay organized as well as look for opportunities to get the word out about our club. Will Parham and Jody Middleton are also awesome at running injured players to the athletic trainer in the middle of practice or getting equipment out to us so we can start on time and have things run smoothly.
How often do you practice? What is your typical practice like?
Next semester we will practice Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30pm-7:30 pm on the fields behind the Alumni Center. A typical practice always consists of some form of anaerobic and plyometric exercises, ball handling, and contact.
How often do you have games?
We have matches or a tournament almost every weekend, but we also do a lot of community service as well as various competitions together such as 5k’s, half marathons, GSU’s Strongest Eagle, Show of Strength, etc.
What is it like to travel around and play different schools?
The nature of Rugby lends itself to camaraderie with other teams. For example, we traveled to the Charleston, SC this past weekend for a Toys for Tots tournament and we did a meet and greet/ grill out with the other women’s teams Friday evening before playing against them Saturday. It is typical that we social with the opposing team after the match. This usually includes grabbing a bite to eat with them and selecting team MVP’s together.
What is your best memory about Club Sports?
One of our best team memories was last year at the annual Georgia Rugby Union Tournament. We took second at that tourney losing by only one try (a score in rugby). The previous year we had not won a single game all season. Taking second at this tournament signified a new start, new training methods, and a new mentality. Since then we’ve continued that success and have truly become a team determined to play the highest quality of rugby.
When did you start playing or participating in rugby?
I began playing about four years ago when I transferred to Georgia Southern and found out the swim team was not accepting walk-ons. I’ve loved it since the first tackle. The adrenaline rush is incredible; there are no other contact sports for women out there.
What if someone is interested in playing your sport? How can they find out more information? Are there tryouts?
Our website: http://gasouthernwomensrugby.com/
Facebook group: Georgia Southern Women’s Rugby
When was your club established at Georgia Southern?
We were established in 1998.
Does your team have any achievements the team is especially proud of?
We were especially proud to send two of our U-19 girls to the U-19 National Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, FL this past November. Hilari Tribble and Morgan Koon were selected from an enormous pool of Georgia Rugby players, and despite severe injuries played as if injury-free.