By Alvin Richardson
Girl Power is afoot at Morgan County High School with an all-girl rugby team in the works.
Coach Nate Reincheld is excited to form the new team after significant interest for female students to play rugby in the last year.
“Since the rugby club started in November 2018, the interest has grown in the school in ways I never thought it really would,” said Reincheld. “Last December, we had about five of the young ladies in the high school come to me with interest in getting a women’s team together, but I couldn’t really do it with only three to five committed players. This year, some other young ladies asked me and requested approval from our Principal and Athletic Director. They started getting things organized with sign-ups and spreading the word.”
According to Reincheld, Amber Smith, a MCHS senior, spearheaded the effort. “She has been instrumental in getting the ball rolling. Before I knew it, there were 23 girls on the list for the MCHS women’s rugby team. And also this year, there are 21 boys who say they are going to play rugby.”
Reincheld noted that a rugby team for girls is an important outlet to offer female athletes at the high school.
“One of the young ladies told me last week that she has been waiting all her life for the opportunity to play something like this,” said Reincheld. “Kimberly Phelps [a student] told me that she’s always wanted to be in a sport where women get to tackle each other…Diane Wallace [another student] said that as soon as she learned in 7th grade that there was going to be a guys rugby club, she has wanted to be part of a girls rugby team ever since then.”
The team has started practicing and loving ever second of it.
“During our practice…it was so reassuring to hear the girls laughing and hearing comments from them enjoying what they are doing, This is helping them be challenged in ways they’ve never been before,” said Reincheld.
Practices right now are voluntary but will become mandatory after Thanksgiving.
Rugby first came to Morgan County High School with an all-boys team in 2018.
“The first season, the boys placed fourth in the state in sevens rugby. Last year, we couldn’t finish the season due to COVID-19, but we got some games before we shut down.”
Now both the boys and girls rugby teams are undertaking a fundraising campaign to support the rugby club.
“On Saturday, Oct 24, the guys and the gals got together for a car wash at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and raised almost $1,000 from so many community members stopping in,” said Reincheld. “Now, we are going to start a series of spirit night fundraisers at restaurants around Madison. We invite all the community to come out on these nights and eat out as a portion of the proceeds will go to the rugby club which will help us buy girls uniforms, tackle bags, rucking shields, and hopefully a shed to store it all in as my Camry only holds so much! “
The next fundraiser spirit night will be held at Bojangles in Madison on Thursday Dec. 3. Another spirit night at Bojangles will be held Wednesday, Dec. 16. Amici Madison will host a spirit night for the rugby club on Thursday, Jan. 28.
“The season runs from February through April,” said Reincheld. “Once the Rugby Georgia league figures out what the schedule will look like thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions and a couple team withdrawals from the league, we will make known when our home games will be.”