New season. New coaches. New shot at the national championship
But the Radcliffe Rugby Football Club is not new to tough competition. After coming one try away from going to Nationals last fall, the squad is entering this year with a definite goal in mind: retribution.
It starts off its season this weekend at the Beantown Tournament in Amherst, Mass. Although Radcliffe plays in Division II during the main season, it will be competing in the Division I bracket for the contest. It is scheduled to play UMass Amherst and Cornell in the first round, two of the best teams in the nation.
“We are really excited to go back out there,” sophomore scrumhalf Kellie Desrochers said. “It is really exciting, because we have a great set of freshmen this year. It’ll be fun to have us all on the field.”
Returning coaches Bryan Hamlin and Shannon Wallace are joined by two additions to the staff. Katie Dowty ’06, a Radcliffe rugby alum, was named Rookie of the Year for the Beantown Rugby Football Club and has attended the US U-23 women’s national camp for two consecutive years. Melanie Denham plays flanker for Beantown and the US national team, with whom she recently competed in the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Dowty and Denham will be providing further guidance to the backs and forwards, respectively, this season.
With its experienced staff and relentless determination, Radcliffe is a team to watch out for in the rugby world this season.
“This weekend is only the beginning,” Desrochers said. “This year, nothing is going to stop us.”