[Mudd-letics]: Winning with Rugby

Mudd students can (and do) play sports! Whether on on Varsity for CMS, club sports with all of the colleges, or intramural sports with your friends, there are a lot of opportunities for students to both continue to play the sports they love in high school or pick up something new during their time at Mudd. For today’s blog, I sat down and talked with Madeleine Masser-Frye ’22 about her experience with the 5C Women’s Rugby team.

Photo of the 2018-2019 Women's Rugby team. There are 32 players and 5 coaches. everyone is wearing a blue uniform except for two player and a coach. The coach is wearing a grey sweater and the two players are wearing red jerseys.

Photo of the 2018-2019 Women’s Rugby team.

The Interview

What division is your team?

“Well, we are not NCAA. I believe we are DII* for collegiate rugby.”

*USA Rugby Pacific Desert Collegiate Women’s Division II

Would you say your team is competitive?

“Yes”

Could you break down the structure of your team?

“Yeah. So we had an A side and B side. In the case of really hard games, A side was primarily veterans and experienced players, while B side was more focused on making sure everyone got playing time. Other teams have a similar set up, so that we would have even matches.”

Could you talk a bit about the people you’ve met through this team?

“I definitely enjoy being in a 5C group. Here at Mudd because you are taking core in your first year, you don’t really have a lot of room to take classes at other schools and meet those people. So, by doing this I get to be more involved with what’s happening around Claremont, and make other friend groups that you may not have had the opportunity to make.

In general, I got into rugby because of a suite mate who played and convinced me to try. We ended up getting really close, so I definitely think that it was a worthwhile choice and am grateful for the experience. And made being at Mudd an even more enjoyable experience.”

There are four players and a referee. The referee is wearing a light green shirt, three of the players are wearing white jerseys while one is wearing a navy blue jersey. Two of the players in white are at opposite ends of the photo. The one closest to us has her back turned and has a number 3 on her jersey. the third player in white as well as the player in blue are in the center. The blue player is carrying the ball and 19 is sen on her back, while the white player tackles her mid-air. The referee is watching in the background.

Photo of the action at a home game on Parents field.

Did you see yourself pursuing athletics in college?

“I did, but not rugby. I was planning to pole vault for the CMS team.”

How’s managing the workload between the curriculum and athletics?

“I didn’t find it too bad. I think it was because for pole vault I was pole vaulting everyday after school, but with rugby it’s only a couple of times a week. So, there was a drop with the amount of time I spent playing sports which helped. There’s a lot of work at Mudd, but once you get into the rhythm of it, it’s not so bad. I definitely found myself still having free time.”

Could you give a couple of highlights from this past year?

“We won our 7’s regionals for our league which meant we got to go to nationals in Tucson, Arizona. So, the week after school was out, we took a big van out to Arizona, stayed in a hotel as a team. It was super hot, but we played Rugby for a few days and got to see a lot of really good teams. It was a lot of fun.”

What’s been your favorite moment thus far?

“I think when we beat Long Beach in 7’s regionals game. I don’t think that it was the final game, but we knew that if we won that one that we would be going to nationals. Even though nationals are at the very end of the year, there is stuff that happens during the fall. At that point, I barely knew how to play rugby, I had only been playing for a month or so and had no clue what the significance of anything was. Long beach has been really competitive with the team historically, so everyone was prepared for a hard game. Then we came out and played well. By the end of the game we were up by a few points and I was able to score the final try for our team. I thought that was pretty cool.”

Photo of the team after winning 7’s regionals.

Is there anything you’re looking forward to next season?

“I’m excited to try and bring in more frosh because we lost a lot of good seniors this past year who really set up the rest of the team. So, we can’t let them down. Gotta do some good recruiting.

I’m also looking forward to getting more play time and step up our game. We did not make it to nationals in the 15’s game this year, but I think it could be done.”

What’s one piece of advice you would give to students who are looking to pursue sports at Harvey Mudd?

“I would say, look into club sports for sure. If you are super excited with a sport and our CMS team fits with you, then awesome and go for it. I decided to make the switch because the team didn’t feel like a great fit. That was a personal feeling for me and there’s nothing wrong with the team. If you are going to be putting that much time into something, make sure it’s something you actually enjoy. Plus, a lot of the club teams here are super welcoming and if you haven’t had any practice with that sport before there are different levels. I had never played rugby before, but everyone had played some sort of sport and they were all very welcoming. I have had friends who have said the same thing with the club sports they play, like Ultimate Frisbee.”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

“It does take up time on the weekends. A lot of people like to have nothing on the weekends because we work so hard during the week, but Saturday is a rugby day. It’s still stress relieving and super fun, but if you wanted time to do like weekend trips, it’s not always practical.”