West Springfield High School Newspaper

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West End soars to Nationals

The+West+End+girls+rugby+team.++The+girls+will+be+going+to+Nationals+in+Indiana%2C+while+the+boys+will+be+in+Kansas+City+for+their+National+tournament.
The West End girls rugby team.  The girls will be going to Nationals in Indiana, while the boys will be in Kansas City for their National tournament.

The West End girls rugby team. The girls will be going to Nationals in Indiana, while the boys will be in Kansas City for their National tournament.

Courtesy of Kat Rambo

Courtesy of Kat Rambo

The West End girls rugby team. The girls will be going to Nationals in Indiana, while the boys will be in Kansas City for their National tournament.

Emma Phillips, Forum Editor

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West End Rugby wears their orange and blue with pride, and for good reason. This year, prospects of winning the State Championship and Nationals are looking good.
The girls and boys teams exude confidence going into their State Tournament after the girls won the past three years and following the boys win at Nationals last year. As States approaches, the pressure of success creep up on the teams.
The girls team practices three times a week, while the boys practice twice a week, and both have games or tournaments every weekend. The intensity of the schedule means that rugby players push their bodies to their physical limits. This may be why rugby is commonly associated with bumps and bruises. Those bruises worsen as the State Competition approaches.
“Rugby is a very intense sport, and there [are] always going to be injuries, but you learn to love the game no matter what pain you’re in. At the level of competition we are at, you just have to fight through it,” said senior Josh Thorne.
The pain is obviously worth it. The girls team was invited to Nationals in Indiana after winning a tournament called Frostbite. The boys, being previous champions, were invited to nationals in Kansas City. Winning Nationals this year is the ultimate goal for the teams.
“It won’t be easy, but it is definitely achievable. Anything short of a loss is unacceptable,” said Thorne.
The teams’ attitudes after their win or loss at States will determine their mindset at Nationals. While most players, like Thorne, want to win, others like junior Kat Rambo have a different outlook.
“We want to win, but mostly we want to play well and play better than we did last year,” said Rambo.
Winning is constantly on their minds, but perhaps the most stressful part of Nationals for the teams is raising the money they need to go. Last year, the girls could not go because the competition was in Washington state. This year, they need about $11,000, and the boys need a similar $10,000. Luckily, the teams have been very successful in fundraising so far. Some players on the girls team were even invited to do a commercial for the Marine Corps. Junior Kayla Estes thought the experience was worth more than any dollar amount.
“It was really cool being spoiled with everything they gave us- free hotel rooms, dinner, lunch, and eventually free snuggies because it was cold,” said Estes.
While fundraising has been frantic, they had all year to practice for the competition. Rugby is practically a year-round sport. Preseason starts in September, and most players, like sophomore Lindsay Thorne, play in the West End Summer League.
“We really don’t stop,” said Lindsay.
However, the players do not mind the time because it pays off on the field. Both girls and boys rugby have won their recent Conference games. The seriousness of “grind time”, the games right before Playoffs and States, will be evident in the teams’ performances in Nationals. For seniors like Josh Thorne, finishing strong is important for their last memories of high school rugby.
“For our graduating seniors, this is our last ride. We want to make it a big one,” said Josh.

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West Springfield High School Newspaper
West End soars to Nationals