International Triangle Tour Write-Up

This past weekend our club participated in the inaugural year of the International Triangle Tour, hosted by the Chicago Blaze in Lemont, IL. Organized by the Blaze, Wisconsin Rugby Club, and Winnipeg Assassins, this tournament intends to be an annual round-robin event between the three clubs, with hosting duties rotating between Chicago, Madison, and Winnipeg, MB, each year.

We played in two games, the first against the Chicago Area Rugby Football Union (CARFU) U23 team and the second against the Winnipeg Assassins women. This tournament provided a great opportunity before our season kicks off to try out different positions, welcome new players, and ensure that everyone got a good chunk of playing time. Both games consisted of two 30-minute halves.

Our first game against CARFU proved to be a good test, as the team is an all-star team comprised of players from around the Chicagoland area. CARFU got ahead of us early with a couple of tries back-to-back, but missed their conversions giving them a 10-0 lead. We managed to hold them there until half time with lots of scrumming and a few try-saving tackles. Out of half, CARFU scored a couple more times but still could not make their conversions; 20-0 CARFU. We managed to fight back, with tries from wing Felicia Carlson and rookie 8-man Maggie “Ginge” Hutchinson. Final score: 34-12 CARFU.

In the second game, we faced off against the Winnipeg Assassins women’s side. A little more rain, a lot more success for Wisconsin! After having a good chunk of time in between games to discuss as a team what worked for us in the first game and what we needed to pay more attention to (led by backs captain Ashley Shaw) we came out stronger and much more cohesive. Canada struck first with an early try, but a great run by wing Bree Valenza led to a try from Felicia on the outside. Game at 7-5 Assassins. Our defense looked much improved from the first game: coming up strong together and ensuring support for those first to the rucks gave us an edge. Eventually prop Tamara Wade came up with the ball and made a great 30-some-odd-yard run into Assassin territory and we were again able to work the ball into the try zone. Canada got one back from us, but luckily our offense came to life and we punched in a few more tries. Game over, 31-14 good guys, bring on the social.

True to the sport, everyone was there for the love of rugby, and a group picture was taken of all the teams under the uprights. We feasted on hot dogs, burgers, desserts, and kept the kegs flowing. A lot of shirt trading and singing of rugby songs later, it is safe to say everyone had a great time in Illinois. We could not have asked for a better way to kick off our fall season, and we are looking forward to a fun weekend catching up with and playing against our alumni! Stay tuned to see how your favorite Wisconsin Women’s D1 team fares…

Wisconsin Opens Spring With Whiskey 10s Trophy

2016 Chanp

2016 Whiskey 10s Championship Plaque

After a long winter offseason, Wisconsin used a warm weekend to travel down to Chicago and win the 2016 Whiskey 10s Tournament.

Shaking off the winter rust, the team earned four large victories in the social tournament against Chicago-area college and social teams.

Wisconsin defeated the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) 57-0 to open the tournament play. Additional wins against an Alumni Side of UIC and Illinois State sent Wisconsin to the tournament final to knock down the UIC Alumni side a second time for the championship.

Thanks to the milder weather, it was a fun day to warm up the boots and prepare for spring playoffs. Wisconsin backs captain Jenn Johnson applauded the team and shared that it “felt good to run around and tackle.”

Wisconsin Roster for 2016 Whiskey 10s
Brittany Aprahamian
Felicia Carlson
Sammy Clevenger
Alayna Hronek
Cori Heilman
Jenn Johnson (C)
Marissa “Fizz” Kraynak
Katie Klas
Nikki Lowden
Lauren McCormack
Kris Peterson
Sarah Pinkston
Melissa “Helga” Pohleber
Emma Zoch

Wisconsin Places 5th at Lakefront 7s

Wisconsin Women at Lakefront 7s, 2012 – Pictured, L-R, first row: Nadia Riese, Meaghan Odling, Jessica Burda, Mike Blaser, Rebecca Stillman, Emi Frerichs; Second Row: Corinna Senn, Nicole Helmer, Mary Hanks, Tonya Achter, Jenny Pederson, Kelly Mullen, Mollie Overby, Maggie Smith.

After a 5th place finish at last week’s first qualifier of the summer, the Wisconsin Women put together a full roster to travel to Milwaukee for the Lakefront 7s.

The team finished 5th again with two losses to Chicago North Shore and the La Crosse Women, respectively. They rallied back in their final match to defeat Ann Arbor again for a final win for the day.

This roster welcomed several new players who had not yet played 7s for the summer. Additionally, several players picked up extra games in the social bracket filling in for the CARFU women’s side (who had late players due to last-minute cancellations).

The women’s team was joined at the tournament by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Women and two sides from the Wisconsin Rugby Club men. All in all, it was a decent day of rugby on the shores of Lake Michigan enjoyed with more than 40 Madison rugby friends.

Thanks again to 7s Coach Nicole Helmer and team captain Kelly Mullen for their leadership this summer!

Tournament Team
Tonya Achter
Michelle “Mike” Blaser
Jessica Burda
Emi Frerichs
Mary Hanks
Nicole Helmer – Coach
Kelly Mullen – Captain
Meaghan Odling
Mollie Overby
Jenny Pederson
Nadia Riese
Corinna Senn
Maggie Smith
Rebecca “Reba” Stillman

Wisconsin Places 5th at Firehouse 7s

Wisconsin Women’s 7s team at 2012 Firehouse 7s. Front row sitting (l-r): Meaghan Odling, Rebecca Stillman, Mike Blaser, Lulu the Weiner Dog; 2nd Row kneeling: Lily Khadempour, Emi Frerichs, Jessica Burda. Back Row standing: Coach Nicole Helmer, Mollie Overby, Captain Kelly Mullen, Water Man and assistant coach for the day Tim Leslie.

In the team’s first organized attempt at a competitive 7s season, the Wisconsin Women have used the 2012 summer to hold true 7s practices and played in their first Midwest qualifier tournament this past weekend at the Firehouse 7s.

Under 7s coach Nicole Helmer (a Wisconsin center and former Midwest 7s All-Star), the team welcomed a mix of veterans and rookies to learn 7s and compete in this summer’s Midwest Qualifying series.

Held down in Lemont, Illinois, the Firehouse 7s saw both a social and qualifier bracket of talented women’s teams. Wisconsin started play against the Ann Arbor women and struggled to find their rhythm against an opponent that was playing 15s style. Down by two tries, Wisconsin rallied back to end the quick match with a tie.

Later in the afternoon, Wisconsin was defeated by the Detroit Women in a physical match and then earned their second loss against the very talented Youngbloodz from Minnesota featuring a number of USA Eagles. However, the team’s 7s skills improved each game and they found themselves slated to play Ann Arbor again in the final match of the day for 5th place honors.

Now feeling more comfortable in the 7s playing abilities and spacing across the field, Wisconsin dominated the Ann Arbor Women in all aspects of the game to win the match 5 tries to one.

Youngbloodz claimed the tournament title defeating the Chicago North Shore women. Detroit placed third after defeating a CARFU team.

Thank you to Coach Helmer and 7s Captain Kelly Mullen for their leadership. Thank you also to Tim Leslie for coaching and running water.

Wisconsin moves on to the Lakefront 7s next weekend.

Tournament Team:
Michelle “Mike” Blaser
Jessica Burda
Emi Frerichs
Nicole Helmer – Coach
Lily Khadempour
Tim Leslie – Water Man
Kelly Mullen – Captain
Meaghan Odling
Mollie Overby
Rebecca Stillman

Hanks, Midwest Wins 2012 NASC Championship

2012 Midwest Thunderbirds – National All-Star Tournament Champions. Wisconsin’s Laura Hanks (back row, 8th from left) scored a try in the national title game to help defeat the Mid-Atlantic.

Wisconsin’s own Laura Hanks helped the 2012 Midwest All-Stars to the national championship, May 25 -27, at the USA Rugby National All-Star Championships.

Held in Pittsburgh, Penn., the Midwest defeated Southern California 37-8 in the Tier 1 semifinal Friday. Sunday’s national championship match saw Hanks and her Midwest teammates dominate Mid-Atlantic 48-8. She scored the team’s opening try off a lineout and played lock for the Thunderbirds in her first All-Star nod.

Midwest captain Christy Ringgenberg credited the team’s unity for its outstanding wins.


Wisconsin Wins Home Tournament

2011 Stuart Daily Memorial Champions

2011 Stuart Daily Memorial Champions! Front: Nicole Helmer; 2nd Row (L-R): Rebecca Stillman, Laura Hanks, Mary Hanks, Kelly Clerkin; 3rd Row (L-R): Shoshana Griffith, Meaghan White, Katie Meyer, Steph Maule, Nadia Riese

The Wisconsin Women capped a beautiful summer of rugby by winning their home tournament – the annual Stuart Daily Memorial Tournament – on Saturday, August 13.

Held at the Wisconsin Rugby Club Sports Complex in nearby Cottage Grove, Wis., Wisconsin fielded two sides for the tournament. Wisconsin’s 1st side took the title, while the second side provided games for developing players and UW-Madison players.

1st Side Roster: Kelly Clerkin, Shoshana Griffith, Laura Hanks, Mary Hanks, Nicole Helmer, Katie Meyer, Steph Maule, Nadia Riese, Rebecca Stillman, Meaghan White.

Nicole Helmer racing in a try.

Nicole Helmer racing in a try against the T.I.T.S.

Laura Hanks passes the ball to her sister Mary Hanks.

Laura Hanks passes the ball to her sister Mary Hanks.

Scrum vs. T.I.T.S.

Scrum vs. T.I.T.S.

Winning the Scrum

Winning the Scrum

Women's Tournament Boat Race

Women's Tournament Boat Race with Judge Nadia watching the first round.

Teammates! Meaghan, Mary, Kelly, Laura and Nicole in the boat race.

Teammates! Meaghan, Mary, Kelly, Laura and Nicole in the boat race.

Our Helmer is all kinds of pretty special!

Our Helmer is all kinds of pretty special!

Unofficial Third Hanks Sister Phil Winkler presents the Championship Trophy.

Unofficial Third Hanks Sister Phil Winkler presents the Championship Trophy.

Team Captains Meaghan and Mary accept the Championship Trophy.

Team Captains Meaghan and Mary accept the Championship Trophy.

WWRFC Travels to New Orleans & Mardi Gras

WWRFC's 8-9-10 Teammates: Mary Hanks, Jenn Johnson and Meaghan Odling break in the new team uniforms down at Mardi Gras.

WWRFC's 8-9-10 Teammates: Mary Hanks, Jenn Johnson and Meaghan Odling break in the new team uniforms down at Mardi Gras.

The Wisconsin Women’s Rugby team traveled south in February to play in the annual Mardi Gras Tournament hosted by the New Orleans Half Moons.

Several members of the team also arrived in New Orleans early to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity, before playing in the tournament and celebrating down on Bourbon Street.

The trip down south also broke in the new WWRFC team uniforms sponsored by the National Guard.

WWRFC teammates Tracy Francis-Nguyen, Mary Hanks, Jenn Johnson, Monica Kaskey, Amy “Norway” Kjeldahl and Meaghan Odling were joined by UW-Madison alum and WWRFC adoptee Andrea Larson, along with Milwaukee Scylla friends Jessica “Juice” Mueller and Nicole “Norbs” Larson.

WWRFC alum Katie Williams and the Chicago Women also played down at the tournament.

WWRFC teammates and friends on Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras 2010.

WWRFC teammates and friends on Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras 2010.