Whether they were wearing black and white or classic crimson, Harvard’s rugby clubs steamrolled through their competition this weekend, knocking out opponents in the national bracket even faster than they do on the field.
Radcliffe rugby clinched the Division II national title Sunday in a decisive 22-10 victory over Notre Dame, while the narrow 22-18 triumph of its all-male counterpart over Buffalo earned Harvard men’s rugby the chance to fly to Palo Alto on May 12 and face Davenport University in the final four round of the men’s national tournament.
Amidst an ongoing campaign for varsity recognition, these victories come at a crucial time for both programs.
“Especially as a lot of rugby clubs around the country have gone varsity, it’s important for us to demonstrate that we are competitive even as a club sport,” Crimson co-captain Connor Heard said. “The landscape of college rugby is changing, so it’s a very big win for us.”
The Black and White reflected a similar appreciation for the win.
No. 12 Radcliffe began the weekend in Pittsburgh with a 32-14 defeat over top-seeded Western Washington in the final four, positioning the club to upset the entire tournament.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ‘05 was nearly Mr. Irrelevant in the 2005 NFL Draft, as the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round with the 250th pick overall.
Now, the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills has something in common with another starter from the Ancient Eight.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Yale senior Shane Bannon in the seventh and final round of the 2011 NFL Draft on Saturday, albeit 27 picks higher than Fitzpatrick. Bannon’s selection marks the first time since 2004 that a Bulldog has been taken in the NFL Draft.
With classes over and Reading Period just starting, it’s the perfect time to go to a home game this weekend. And plenty of Harvard teams are in action today and tomorrow for Crimson fans to watch.
Both the baseball and softball teams also have matchups this weekend. The men have a doubleheader against Dartmouth tomorrow at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and the women also have a doubleheader versus Dartmouth the same day at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The men’s team is looking to pull itself slowly out of a 9-32 hole, while the women’s squad looks to improve on its 30-14 record.
Finally, the men’s lacrosse team has a game today at 1 p.m. against Yale at Harvard Stadium. The men are currently 8-5, but the Crimson can improve on that record if recent history is an indication. Harvard has beaten Yale in five of the last seven meetings, but Yale came away with a slight 9-8 victory last season.
Harvard alumni often end up competing in many fields post-graduation. Recently, there was the rift between Conan O’Brien ’85 and Jeff Zucker ’86 at NBC. Shortly thereafter came the 2010 Massachusetts gubernatorial race between Deval Patrick ’78 and Charlie Baker ’79. And there was even the competition for best picture at the Oscars this year between Natalie Portman ‘03’s Black Swan and Matt Damon (class of 1992)’s True Grit, both of which fell to The King's Speech.
Professional sports is not usually one of the arenas in which Harvard grads go head-to-head. But this season’s NHL first round playoff series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins featured a battle between two former Crimson hockey players, Craig Adams '99 and Dominic Moore '03.
After leading the Harvard women’s golf team in scoring average this past year, freshman Bonnie Hu was recently invited to the NCAA Central Regional, held May 5-7 in South Bend, Ind.
Only one other individual Ivy Leaguer—Kelly Shon of Princeton—received such a distinction.