Women’s Rugby Thrives At Tournament

The Marist College women’s rugby team, as they do each year, competed in the annual Beast Of The East rugby tournament on Sat. Apr. 13 and Sun. Apr. 14. The tournament, held in Portsmouth, R.I., is always a good test for the team, as it pits the Red Foxes against some of the best women’s rugby competition in the northeast.

“The best part about Beast is spending the entire weekend submerged in rugby,” Shealynn Kelly ‘19 said of the tournament. “It is a lot of team bonding between the bus ride, hotel stay, playing several games together and watching rugby in between matches.”

Teams gather from both New England and Mid-Atlantic states, on both men’s and women’s sides, to compete in the two-day tournament. Each men’s and women’s team joins one of two divisions. Logan Stevens ‘19 noted the feeling of togetherness that the tournament brings.

“It’s like rugby ultimately unites people,” Stevens said. “We’re all there to play with our teams and have a great time.”

The team had a rough start to the tournament, but a dominant Sunday performance allowed the Red Foxes to take home first place in their division. Kelly credits the successful performance to her team’s conditioning and overall skill.

“We were the fitter, more skilled team on Sunday compared to our opponents,” Kelly said.

Saturday didn’t feature the Red Foxes at their best, as the team dropped both matches on the first day. The Red Foxes fell 38-0 to the University of Connecticut, followed by a nail-biting 12-10 defeat at the hands of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

It could have been easy for the Red Foxes to fade at that point, but according to Kelly, a positive mindset was the key to righting the ship.

“We never let ourselves hang our heads,” Kelly said. “We came back on Sunday ready to fight and defend our title.”

That was evident on the tournament’s second and final day, as the Red Foxes rolled to a 37-5 victory over Southern Connecticut State University. Later in the day, Marist added another win--this time defeating Binghamton University 25-5 to finish this year’s tournament with a record of 2-2.

As Stevens and Kelly reach the end of their Marist careers, and fully representative of a large senior class, both admit to feeling a whirlwind of emotions regarding their retirement from rugby.

“Saying goodbye to my amazing team and giving up the positions we all worked so hard for won’t be easy,” Stevens said, “but I have faith that the team will continue to make big breaks and continue to rise up with the most strength they have.”