The Howard’s Men and Women Rugby Clubs are preparing to start the 2022-2023 season. Coming off their first season in program history, the clubs were able to put other schools on notice.
Rugby continues to grow in notoriety at Howard University due to the clubs’ success. The Howard University Women’s Rugby Club has the only complete female roster among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
“I think that they did a very good job last year. For it being our first season as in the new kids on the block we turned some heads and got some very good compliments from other coaches. They saw that we have the opportunity to become a very good side,” Tito Miranda, head coach of the Howard Men’s Rugby club, said.
With the sport less popular at HBCUs, seeing these student-athletes play could lead to more Black colleges joining in the future. “I think It’s pretty cool. In the future, I hope more HBCUs start getting into rugby. It’s a great sport that many people aren’t aware of,” Chanelle Cates, a Howard University Women’s Rugby Club player, said.
With the mens’ team having an overall record of 4-8, the club still needs to improve in many facets. They are now focusing on recruitment, as they go into the season.
“Our biggest area to improve in is numbers. We didn’t have many guys come out last year, but you’re starting to see there’s a lot more guys coming out this year. Hope it keeps on going,” Miranda said.
Both teams are also looking to increase attendance at their games. Due to most of the games being out-of-state, or further away from campus, they don’t see many Howard fans in the audience.
They are hoping that will not be the case this season, with the men’s club hosting the annual HBCU Rugby Classic and Music Festival. The event will be held for the first time outside of Louisiana. It will take place in Washington, D.C. in March 2023.
“Come this season, we will have home games, and we are hosting a classic, and it’s going to be awesome and amazing,” said player Jeremiah Chukwuka.
The men’s rugby club will start their Nationals Run on March 26th, at Gettysburg college. While the women kicked off their season last Saturday versus Mary Washington.
Copy edited by Alana Matthew