Castleton women’s rugby will make the exciting transition from the club level to the varsity ranks next semester.
Deanna Tyson, associate dean for athletics and recreation, sat down with Women’s Rugby President Katie Horan and Vice President Missy Dimock to inform them about this team-altering opportunity; the chance to evolve into a Division III NCAA team.
Players are eagerly waiting to get on the field so they can get a head start on next season.
“The team is very excited to get started and are ready to work hard and see what we can accomplish next semester,” said Co-Captain Taylor Keramis.
Improvements that come with being varsity sport include having a full-time coach, a strength and conditioning coach, transportation, and access to athletic trainers.
When asked about the transition, Horan believed that it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It’s time to grow our program and take Castleton Rugby to the next level. We have all worked so hard for this, and overall. I just am so excited for the opportunity,” Horan said.
The women’s club team made it to a NERFU women’s college rugby playoff game in the fall season of 2015, and was North Eastern division champs in 2012.
According to USA Rugby, there are 15 NCAA women’s rugby teams to be expected next fall, with the inclusion of Castleton University. This year there were only 12 NCAA women’s rugby teams.
Tyson believes this is a positive change for Castleton. She said the women’s team finally will get the accurate reputation she feels the team deserves.
“People have this perception of the rugby team as partiers, but I haven’t had that perception just because they have been so successful,” she said.
Tyson also said she is excited and looks forward to seeing the women play.
When asked about the future, Tyson expressed hopes in seeing the team continue to evolve and become a serious competitor in the league. With a smile, Tyson admits she would like to see the team beat Castleton’s rival, Norwich University.
Rumors circled around campus saying the motivation behind the club team becoming a Division III NCAA varsity sport was due to a Title IX compliance issue.
Tyson denied that there was any conflict between the two and that Castleton has never had an issue with complying. In her office hangs a framed letter from 2007 naming Castleton State College the number one school in the country for compliance with Title IX.
Women’s golf, in addition to women’s rugby, is also expected to become a varsity level sport next semester. Currently, Castleton University has 26 varsity programs at the NCAA Division III level.
With this exciting transition Horan says that the team fully supports one another, and although this is a big change, the team is “ready to tackle it head on.”