Claremont Colleges Women's Rugby Outfoxes Occidental

Locke Curtis PZ '20, Sophie Baker SC '20, Michelle Martinez SC '20, and Grace Piette PZ '20 of the Claremont Colleges Foxes bring down an Occidental College women's club rugby player during their game on Saturday, Feb. 18. (Jo Nordhoff-Beard • The Student Life)

The Claremont Colleges Foxes Women’s Rugby Football Club (3-0, 3-0 Gold Coast) are the 5Cs' best team on campus that is the least talked about. Not many 5C students know about women’s rugby; the club has a small budget and faces institutional adversity when attempting to provide resources for its team members.

Despite all the systematic obstacles it faces, the club is a group of focused people who work hard and have achieved considerable success over the last two years. The Foxes are students from all grade levels from every school and are a diverse group united by their common love for rugby.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Foxes traveled through the Los Angeles flash floods to face the Occidental College (0-1, 0-1 Gold Coast) women’s rugby team, the only other Division III women’s rugby team in Southern California. The winner of this game would advance to the NSCRO Pacific Coast Championships on April 1-2, the national championship for Division III women’s rugby teams that have spring seasons, since most Division III teams play in the fall. The Foxes won easily against the Tigers 36-10, and moved on to nationals.

Katelyn Faust CM ’17 and Michelle Ramirez SC ’20 led the Foxes with two tries each, the rugby equivalent of a touchdown. Natalie Mark PZ ’18, Catherine Weiss SC ’20, and Joey Yamada CM ’18 each scored one try. Faust also hit one penalty kick, the same thing as a field goal, for three points. Senior Kelsey Roy was the only player to score for the Tigers and scored two tries.

Most Foxes have never played rugby before coming to the 5Cs. Of the starters on Saturday’s game, only two of the 15 players on the field had ever played rugby before. Dana Alimena PZ ’19 has played on Stars Rugby twice, a 7s rugby team with athletes from multiple countries that has the opportunity to train with the United States rugby national teams. Stars Rugby competes at the Las Vegas Sevens Rugby World Cup tournament, where Alimena will have the opportunity to play against many Olympic rugby players.

Grace Piette PZ ’20 played rugby in high school in northern California and has made an instant impact on the Foxes this season being a player to watch as the thrower in lift plays, where two people from each team lift one person from their team up in the air to catch a ball thrown in between the lifters, which puts the ball back in play after it goes out of bounds.

Other Foxes have substantial prior athletic experience, with Faust and Lindsay Mooradian PZ ’19 being varsity soccer players for CMS and P-P, respectively, and Kimmy Tuttle CM ’19 and Megan Fuelling CM ’19 being CMS volleyball players.

Rugby is a confusing sport to watch, but once in the community, it is easy to understand its great power in bringing people together and creating long lasting friendships and great college memories.

The Foxes next play the UCI Anteaters on the road this Saturday, Feb. 25, at 5:30 p.m. This game has no bearing on their national championship participation but is important nonetheless.