As the 2016-17 school year begins, the men's and women's rugby and rowing teams at the University of Mary Washington look back on their first year under the Department of Athletics umbrella, with Team Sports designation.
"We are very pleased to have the Team Sports of men's and women's rugby and rowing under the athletics umbrella", said UMW Director of Athletics Ken Tyler. "These approximately 100 student-athletes are extremely dedicated and perform admirably in the classroom, on the pitch and water, and in our community. Their affiliation with the Department of Athletics provides enhanced opportunities in areas such as coaching, strength and conditioning, athletic training and facilities. In addition, the higher level of oversight ensures that we are always competing with the utmost integrity and compliance. We're very proud to have these outstanding student-athletes on our team at the University of Mary Washington!"
Results in 2015-16 indeed showed that the new team sports would be successful additions under the athletics' team sport designation.
The men's and women's rowing programs, under head coach Richard Adams, turned in a standout 2015-16 season, claiming the Waterfield Cup at Virginia Tech in April. The women's team highlights included the varsity four-plus winning at the Knerr Cup, and the men's four-plus took top honors at the Occoquan Sprints. UMW took two medals at the Mid Atlantic Rowing Conference championships.
The men's rugby team, under the direction of head coach Min Sae Chae, finished third of 11 teams in conference play and started 11 freshmen most of the year. UMW performed very well in a national invitational tournament, the Cherry Blossom, and has been gearing up all spring to move up to D1 rugby with the formation of the Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference. For 2016, UMW will welcome three top transfers, five new domestic freshmen, and five freshmen from the United Kingdom. Last year one of UMW's only two rising seniors, Alex Clegg, was capped for Finland and represented them internationally. Rising Junior Terence McPhillips was an honorable mention D2 All-American and the team finished the year with five players with a 3.5 GPA average and above.
The 2015 season marked the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Mary Washington Women's Rugby team. The Eagles, under head coach Kris Kabza, finished second in conference play, and also took second in spring playoff season, capping the season with a defeat to the hands of the University of Pittsburgh. Even though the team did not experience the same fairytale ending it saw two years ago when it won a national championship, they did reach the USA Rugby National Playoffs for the tenth time, more than any Women's Collegiate D2 team in the country.