While most high school seniors were probably sleeping in last Sunday, recovering from prom, the girls rugby team suited, or rather dressed, up to play in their first annual Prom Dress Rugby Match.
Though dressed for a formal evening event, the girls were all business once they put their mouth guards in and took to the field. It was hard to tell it was a scrimmage when the whistle blew. They played unimpeded by their formal wear, occasionally tearing it in the process. It was as if they were wearing their regular uniforms.
The game, though mainly for fun and to raise money for the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards, was part of the team’s lead-up to nationals. The girls leave May 16 for the tournament in Racine, Wis.
For most seniors this will be their first appearance at nationals. The team hasn’t been to the tournament in three years. Coach Karl Barth cites difficulty in scheduling as a primary reason they have been unable to go the past few seasons. This year worked out with other sports finishing in time and no scheduling conflict with graduation.
One of the biggest challenges the girls face going to nationals could be shaking off the rust. It’s been a long layoff for the lady Tigers. In other parts of the country, girls rugby seasons are just wrapping up. The Summit girls, on the other hand, haven’t played an official game since their state championship win last November.
“It’s difficult, the majority plays in spring,” says head coach Karl Barth. He sees the long layoff as both a positive and a negative. “We’re healthier; we’re not game hardened.”
While the team has been participating in off-season conditioning, this week has been their first opportunity for on-field practice. “We’ve got a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it,” says Barth.
Prior to the prom dress game, the team was able to scrimmage Glendale two weeks ago.
The girls have a final opportunity to shake off some more of the rust this weekend in an alumni scrimmage game to be played at Summit High School on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Players from as far back as 1999 are expected to make it for the event. Barth mentioned a number of players who are returning have gone on to play at the collegiate level.
The Tiger girls will join 19 other teams invited to nationals next week. The top eight compete in a play-off for the championship. The remaining twelve play each other in a secondary tournament.
Currently ranked #2 in Rugby Magazine, according to Barth, the Tiger girls find out Monday if they will be invited to play for the national championship. Some season ending games in other states could effect their ranking, but Barth is confident they will make the top eight.
Regardless, the girls are really excited about the opportunity to travel to Wisconsin and play other teams from across the country. They are also incredibly thankful to the Summit community that has made their trip possible.