The Claremont Foxes, the women’s rugby team of the Claremont Colleges, had a preseason scrimmage against Occidental College on Nov. 18.
The team was founded in 1995 and competes in Division II within the Southern California Rugby Football Union (SCRFU). Other schools in the conference include University of Southern California; California State University, Northridge; California Lutheran University; Occidental College; University of California, Irvine; California State University, Fullerton; California State University, Long Beach and University of California, Riverside. They are coached by Nikki Cole PO ’02 and led by president Taylor McAdam HM ’15 and captains Carling Sugarman HM ’14 and Victoria Feudo HM ’14.
“When I was a freshman, three of my suite mates at Mudd were on the rugby team,” McAdam said. “They tried to get me to come out for the team, but as a freshman, I was too wrapped up in meeting new people and getting used to the Mudd workload, so I never ended up joining. When I was a sophomore, a member of the team saw me wrestling with someone for fun and told me I should play rugby. Since I’d already had the seed planted in my head the year before, I promised her that next year I would join. I started playing at the beginning of my junior year, and I absolutely loved it. I wish I had joined when I was a freshman like my suite mates told me to.”
This willingness to bring new players into the fold has led to a very tight-knit community, which is McAdam’s favorite thing about the team.
“The whole culture of women’s rugby is a very alternative and accepting culture,” she said. “Rugby attracts people from all walks of life—different sexualities, gender identities, cultures and countries. But everyone bonds over their common love of the sport. Even across rugby teams from across the country, there are shared traditions, songs and experiences unique to rugby. This year we have a really great team. Even though we don’t have enough players, the people on the team this year are dedicated, positive, fun and supportive.”
The Foxes already have a core of talented rookie players who will be key to the team’s success this year but are always looking for more people to come out for the team.
“I think if people joined us for a couple practices and played in a game or two, they would quickly develop a love for the sport,” McAdam said. “We need more players before we start league matches in the spring, so this is our number-one priority.”
“Other goals for this year are simply to improve, grow together as a team and set up a strong infrastructure to carry this team through coming years,” she added. “We have a very young team, so I expect the team to be extremely competitive in the next few years, with lots of experienced players. Already we are seeing great improvement.”
McAdam also shared that the Foxes will try to fundraise in the hopes of “making enough money to support the team and possibly pay a little bit to our extremely dedicated coach.”
Cole, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Pomona College, is in her first year as coach of the Foxes and has previous playing experience with the Boston Women’s Rugby Football Club and the University of California, Santa Barbara Mermaids women’s rugby club.
The Foxes start league play in the spring. Until then, they will continue to scrimmage against local teams. With a solid core of young players, they should be a fun and exciting team to follow.