Wayne rugby men and women fair well in Battle on the Nebraska Prairie

The undefeated Lady Cats’ prepare for national championships


Photo by Mason Schweizer

Both the men and women rugby teams came out of Rugby Weekend successful. The Lady Cats’ finished its spring season undefeated and are ranked number one in the nation, while the men’s team won two games and tied its third game.

Brandon Hofstra, Staff Writer

It was madness indeed.

Battle on the Nebraska Prairie Rugby Tournament took place in Wayne this past weekend, while a special guest and ex-rugby player watched the Wayne State Wildcats continue to demolish the competition, all while a bit of mischief took place over the weekend.

Eighty colleges showed up in Wayne on Saturday for the tournament, which makes it the third largest rugby tournament in the United States. Teams from all over the country and five teams from Canada were in attendance.

The Lady Cats’ went 9-0 this weekend when facing competition from schools like Iowa State University, Simpson College and Southwest Minnesota State, and they didn’t bat an eye after defeating those teams.

“They (wins) were pretty significant,” Alex Feely, junior Lady ‘Cat rugby player, said. “It was mostly blowouts. I know our ‘A’ side didn’t get scored on at all.”

The women stayed undefeated for the spring season with a semifinal win over Iowa State 28-0 and a grand final win over Simpson 29-0.

“We are for sure running on all cylinders right now,” head rugby coach Darrin Barrner said. “I have never seen us play so well over a weekend like this in 16 years. We are really peaking at the right time.”

The WSC Lady Cats’ are now preparing for Nationals in North Carolina and will compete for their fifth national championship on April 30 in Charlotte. The ‘Cats beat The Ohio State University Buckeyes two times in St. Louis last month. The Lady Cat’s are also ranked number one in the nation for 7’s (seven-on-seven).

“There is a regional tournament coming up in Minnesota,” Feely said. “So Simpson (College) could make it if they win that, but we don’t know of anyone else that’s in for sure yet.”

WSC men also reached the grand final with a match against Wisconsin River Falls, the same team they met last year in the regional finals between the top two teams in the region.

WSC men came out on top with a 27-20 victory. Their third game ended up being called a tie after a fight broke out while playing the University of Northern Iowa Panthers.

“They gave one guy a red card,” Feely said, “It just got out of hand, all of the guys were just exhausted and done, so the Sir just called it over.”

A featured guest was also in attendance at the tournament. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts played rugby in college for the University of Chicago before competing with the Chicago Griffins and the Omaha Goats.

Aside from all of the victories, vandalism also took place in Wayne this weekend.

“All I can tell you is that Sunday morning, I got a call that one of our little fire pups down at the fire hall was missing,” Wayne Fire Chief Phil Monahan said.

This is not the first time that these ceramic dogs have been stolen or vandalized. In fact, the same incident happened several years prior, and happened to fall on the same weekend as the rugby tournament.

“I’m not at all pointing fingers at any rugby personnel or anything like that,” Monahan said. “I just know it’s happened both times on that weekend.”

Monahan said the value of the Dalmatian puppy was estimated at about $100. Anyone who knows of its whereabouts are asked to contact the Wayne Volunteer Fire Department at (402) 369-1712 or the Wayne Police Department at (402) 375-2626.

As for rugby, the WSC Lady Cats’ will take on Central Missouri this Sunday on an away game, while the WSC men go to Sioux City with a match up in a six-team event.