Team History

This page is a continual work in progress. Thanks for your patience!

This is an ongoing history of our team and competitive success. If you have information to add, please contact us at: Thanks!

2023 Women’s History Month

Every Wednesday in March 2023 we featured a different decade of WWRFC history on our social media! Check out the pages below for all of the posts and information we shared:

Found in the archives…

“Women’s Rugby — All Guts and Little Glory” by Kathy Opalewski. (1975 Capital Times news article on the WWRFC)

Club Timeline (work in progress)

FALL 2017 / SPRING 2018
  • Justin O’Connor was hired as head coach for the club. He was joined in the spring by alumna Aletha Petersen as assistant coach.
  • In fall 2017, the Midwest competitive region restructured their league schedule. Instead of a split season stretching from the fall into the spring (with a winter break), all Midwest league and play-off games would take place entirely in the fall. The spring would be reserved for friendly matches/tournaments and National play-offs for those who qualified. This actually produced two 2017 Midwest Championships: one in May 2017 for the 2016-2017 competition cycle, and one in November 2017 for the 2017-2018 cycle.
  • With Chicago North Shore now promoted to the Women’s Premier League, the Midwest Division 1 league consisted of four teams: Chicago Women, Detroit Women, Minnesota Valkyries, and Wisconsin Women. The fall season started out flat with losses against Chicago and Detroit at home, but a 36-22 road victory against Minnesota reinvigorated the club. We followed this match with another loss to Detroit and wins against Minnesota and Chicago to finish the league schedule in 2nd place in standings and a 3-3 overall league record.
  • We played Denver Black Ice at home Halloween weekend in a friendly match. It was a close match up, ending as a loss, 22-27.
  • Due to the small league size, a Midwest Women’s Division 1  Championship match was contested between the top two teams based on league standings: for 2017, Detroit and Wisconsin. For the third time in three months we faced the Michigan team, this time for the 2017 Midwest Championship. The result was a 17-46 loss. This match technically fell within USA Rugby’s Division 1 Round of 16. Full USA Rugby Bracket.
  • Due to our 2nd place finish in the Midwest, our club was invited to take part in the Gold Cup, a new competition between the top two women’s clubs of the Atlantic North, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Red River competitive regions. After considering the financial and travel burdens this would put on our club and players, we chose not to participate. The 3rd place Midwest team, Chicago, took our place.
  • In the spring, our club focused on friendly matches and opportunities for players to grow. Our sole win was a 15-0 match against Oconomowoc. Our other spring opponents were Milwaukee Scylla (D2); Cincinnati Kelts (D2) as they prepared to represent the Midwest at Nationals; Twin Cities Amazons (D2); Minnesota Valkyries; and Minneapolis Menagerie (D2).
  • We traveled out to Colorado for a friendly rematch against Denver Black Ice. We were happily joined by a few of our Colorado-based alumni for this match. Despite the heat and altitude, we played a close match against the Black Ice, with a repeat score of 22-27 from our October game.
  • The spring saw the return of the Midwest senior women’s select-side tournament. WWRFC coach Justin O’Connor led the Wisconsin squad, with Aletha Petersen as assistant coach and Emma Zoch as manager. The Wisconsin LAU team was made up of players from Milwaukee Scylla, Oconomowoc, and Wisconsin Women; WWRFC’s Sammy Clevenger was named forward’s captain of the squad. The Wisconsin All-Stars won their first match 17-0 against CARFU/Illinois in blizzard-like conditions. Due to the weather, Minnesota forfeited their pool matches, resulting in Wisconsin advancing to the championship match against Ohio. Wisconsin defeated Ohio 47-14 to become Midwest Senior Women’s All-Star Champions.
FALL 2016 / SPRING 2017
  • During the summer of 2016, Coach Bob “Wee Bob” Jafferis stepped down from coaching the club. Finding a new coach was unsuccessful, leaving the club player-coached for the 2016-2017 season. Alumni and injured teammates assisted the team captains with practice planning/running and “coaching” during games.
  • First year of the International Triangle Tour. Our club traveled to Lemont, Ill., to play women’s clubs from Canada and the Chicago area. We lost 12-34 to the CARFU U24 select-side, and won 31-14 against the Winnipeg Assassins.
  • After advancing to National Playoffs for two years in a row, the club was promoted to Midwest’s Division 1. In the higher level of competition, we finished 4th overall out of the five Midwest teams, with a 2-6 league record. Our two wins in the season were both against the Minnesota Valkyries. Other Midwest D1 teams were Chicago North Shore, Chicago Women, and Detroit Women.
  • Played Lindenwood University in a fall friendly match, losing 0-44.
  • Played Milwaukee Scylla (D2) in a spring friendly match, losing 12-17.
FALL 2015 / SPRING 2016
  • Following up the club’s 40th anniversary celebration at the start of the fall 2015 season, the club hit the Midwest Division 2 league season at full pace. The team remained undefeated through fall 2015 and spring 2016 in league games, with two wins each against Minneapolis Menagerie, Milwaukee Scylla, Palmer College Dragons, and Twin Cities Amazons.
  • In addition to our Midwest league games, the WWRFC took on two D1 foes in the fall. The season started with a friendly win against Chicago Women at our alumni weekend celebration. The Midwest also implemented friendly crossover matches this season between the D1 and D2 leagues, to give teams in both competitions a greater variety of games. As a result, we took on Chicago North Shore for a competitive but friendly match. The club came away with a loss, but it was a good preparatory game as we had our sights set on another run at Nationals. The 5-65 loss to North Shore would be one of only two losses in the 2015-2016 season.
  • During the spring, we supplemented our Midwest league games with a friendly match against D1 Minnesota Valkyries and developmental games against UW-Madison (in an April snowstorm) and UW-La Crosse. The win against the Valkyries was the first time these two teams played each other in years, and the first win against the Minnesota team in possibly a decade. We also won the Whiskey Tens tournament in Chicago.
  • The team finished the Midwest league as the #1 seed from our division, and faced the #2 seed from the other western Midwest divison, Chicago Sirens, in the Midwest quarter-finals. We prevailed with a 114-0 win over the Illinois team, advancing to a return to the Midwest Semi-Finals in Lemont, Illinois.
  • At the Chicago Blaze fields, we faced Buffalo in the Midwest Semi-Finals, while on the other side of the bracket Milwaukee Scylla battled Cincinnati Kelts. The two Dairy State teams won their respective matches and would face off for an All-Wisconsin Midwest Championship match. The Final was a nail-biter of a match, but our club defeated Milwaukee, 47-33, and earned a spot in the National Round of 8 for the second year in a row.
  • In muddy Pittsburgh, Penn., the club won our National Quarter-Final match 67-19 over Charlotte (North Carolina) Women. The next day, we beat the conditions and the competition with a Semi-Final win over Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Harlots, 31-17.
  • 2016 would not be a repeat of 2015. In the USA Rugby Division 2 Women’s National Championship, the WWRFC battled hard against the Life West (California) Gladiatrix, but lost 20-66, finishing as the National Runner-Up. Full USA Rugby Bracket.
FALL 2014 / SPRING 2015
  • Midwest league season commenced in the fall and continued into the spring. It included two wins each against Palmer College and Minneapolis Menagerie, a win and a loss against the Twin Cities Amazons, and a fall loss against the Milwaukee Scylla. The spring was a different story, however, as we came back with a win against our in-state foes, as well as a friendly win against the Chicago Sirens and a loss to Chicago Women (D1).
  • In late winter, the team traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete in the annual D.C. Furies Ruggerfest tournament. After matches against the D.C. Furies (D2), Maryland Stingers, Buffalo, and the D.C. Furies Old Girls, we finished 2nd overall.
  • As the 2nd seed in our Midwest division, we played the Will County Morrigans in a league cross-over match. We defeated the Illinois team 41-7, advancing to the Midwest Semi-Finals.
  • In the Midwest Semi-Finals, we faced the Milwaukee Scylla for the third time this year. We overtook them 37-11 to advance to the Midwest Final and the National Round of 16.
  • Team wins 2015 Midwest Division 2 Women’s Championship with win against Cincinnati Kelts.
  • Team wins USA Rugby East Regional in Charlotte, North Carolina with wins against Burlington (Vermont) Women and Augusta (Georgia) Furies.
  • Team wins USA Rugby Division 2 Women’s National Championship with 38-28 victory against Sacramento Amazons, June 14, in Glendale, Colorado. Full USA Rugby Bracket.
FALL 2013 / SPRING 2014
  • USA Rugby restructures Senior Club Women’s Rugby back to a split season in Fall & Spring, similar to the men.
  • Undefeated 8-0 League record in Midwest D2 Western League play.
  • Season also includes friendly 25-8 victory against D1 Chicago Women, and a 30-5 Loss (Fall) and 5-5 Tie (Spring) to D1 Chicago North Shore (who eventually finished 2nd in the Nation for D1 Women).
  • Team finished 2nd overall at 2014 Midwest Championship, defeating Twin Cities Amazons, 34-19, in semifinal, and losing 20-15 to Pittsburgh Women. Pittsburgh Women advanced to win their second-straight USA Rugby National Championship. Our score against them was the closest of all teams in the nation. Our match against Pittsburgh was part of USA Rugby’s Round of 16. Full USA Rugby Bracket.
  • Third-straight appearance at the D2 Midwest Championships.
  • Rugby Magazine ranked us 4th overall in Women’s D2.
  • Our team, along with the Wisconsin Rugby Club and Madison Minotaurs, hosted the USA Rugby Senior Club National Championships, May 31-June 1, 2014 in Madison.
  • Rookie lock Grace Hovde selected to USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans for tour to France, August 2013. Also Midwest All-Star Tour to Wales, Summer 2013.
  • Finished 2nd in Whiskey 10s Tournament, Advanced to Semifinals at Nash Bash Tournament
  • Friendly wins against Palmer Women, Winona State University, Chicago Women. Only loss to mixed side of Twin Cities Amazons (Women’s Premier League and D2)
FALL 2012
  • Finished 3rd overall at Midwest Championships. 15-12 loss to Pittsburgh Women in Semi-Final, then 47-7 win against Scioto Valley in consolation match.
  • Completed league season with 3-1 record to finish 2nd overall. Only loss was 12-11 against Milwaukee Scylla. Advanced to playoff match against Twin Cities Amazons, lost 27-22 to end season. However, Amazons roster weakened, so forfeited playoff match to our team, allowing us to advance to Midwest Championships.
  • Second-straight appearance at D2 Midwest Championships.
  •  Won Whiskey 10s.
  • Friendly wins against Milwaukee Scylla, Oconomowoc (2), St. Louis Sabres. Losses to Twin Cities Amazons (WPL), Chicago Women (D1), Chicago North Shore (D1), and Cincinnati Kelts (D2).
  • Lock Laura Hanks selected to Midwest Senior All-Stars. Midwest Thunderbirds won 2012 National All-Star Championship. Hanks scored try off a lineout in one of victories.
FALL 2011
  • Team returns to Division 2 Women by choice after Midwest restructuring (D1 teams would be forced to play West Region teams (CO, TX, etc.) in league games.
  • Undefeated in Western League play with four wins, defeated Palmer Women 38-5 to advance to Midwest Championship in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Defeated Buffalo Women 15-12 in icy/muddy conditions in Midwest Championships semifinal to advance to final against Pittsburgh Women. Lost 28-10 to finish second overall at Midwest Championships.
Spring 2011
  • Finished 1-2 in premiere bracket of Savannah St. Pat’s Tournament. Losses to Atlanta Harlequins (D1) and DC Furies (WPL), win against Fort Bragg (D2).
  • Friendly wins against Chicago Sirens, Chicago North Shore (D1), Milwaukee Scylla. Loss to Palmer Women.
Fall 2010
  • Team was Division 1 in Midwest league with Chicago Women, Chicago North Shore, and Detroit Women. Lost all 3 league games and finished 4th overall at D1 Midwest Championships.
  • Two friendly wins against Milwaukee Scylla (D2) and Minneapolis Menagerie (D2).
  • Summer of 2010, Wisconsin Senior All-Star team, defeated Chicago Area and Ohio, in round-robin.
Spring 2010
  • Advanced to semi-final at Nash Bash, two wins against D2 Memphis and Cincinnati, loss to D1 Chicago North Shore.
  • Friendly wins vs. D2 Milwaukee Scylla, Oconomowoc Women, St. Louis Sabres, Denver Black Ice (D1); 22-15 Loss to Chicago North Shore (D1).
Fall 2009
  • Team returns to Division 1 from Division 2 in new Midwest league of Chicago Women, Chicago North Shore, and Detroit Women, after USA Rugby forms the Women’s Premier League (Minnesota Valkyries and Twin Cities Amazons in WPL).
  • In league play, team earns 5-5 tie against Chicago Women, losses to Chicago North Shore and Detroit. Friendly win against D2 Minneapolis Menagerie to open season.
Spring 2009
  • to be added
Fall 2008
  • First season playing in Midwest D2. Team chose to switch divisions due to lack of parity with D1 teams in Midwest.
  • Qualified for Midwest D2 Championships. Lost to Detroit Women (D2) in semi-final. Won by forfeit against Milwaukee Scylla in consolation match.
Spring 2008
  • to be added
Fall 2007
  • Division 1
Spring 2007
  • Qualified to USA Rugby Division 1 Challenge Match against Seattle Mudhens, in Seattle, Wash. Lost to Mudhens, but team had great tour of Seattle area with excellent team fundraising.
  • Hosted the Midwest Senior All-Star Selects Try-Out Camp. Wisconsin had several players selected to the All-Star team.
Fall 2006
  • Finished 3rd overall in Midwest Division 1 league play out of five teams, including a victory against the Chicago Women. Advanced to the Midwest D1 Women’s Championships, placing fourth overall with losses to the Minnesota Valkyries and Chicago North Shore.
Spring 2006
  • Finished 2nd at Whiskey 10s Tournament
Fall 2005
  • to be added. Division 1.
Spring 2005
  • Won 2005 Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Tournament, Savannah, GA.
Fall 2004
  • Division 1. To be added.
Spring 2004
  • to be added
Fall 2003
  • Division 1. To be added.
Spring 2003
  • To be added.
Fall 2002
  • Division 1. To be added.
Spring 2002
  • To be added.
Fall 2001
  • Division 1. To be added.
Spring 2001
  • Advanced to USA Rugby Division 1 National Championships.
  • 2001 – Midwest Seed #3, Seed #8, Pool A
    USA Rugby Bracket
    27-22 Win vs. Kansas City Jazz – Round of 16
    53-0 Loss vs. Berkeley All Blues – Quarter-Finals
    7-0 Loss vs. New York – Plate Semi-Final
    15-8 Win vs. UCLA – Plate Consolation Final

2000 – Division 1: Midwest Seed #2, Seed #7, Pool B
USA Rugby Bracket
34-20 Win vs. Washington DC Furies – Round of 16
20-0 Loss vs. Beantown – Quarter-Finals
41-0 Loss vs. Minnesota Valkyries – Plate Semi-Final
22-5 Loss vs. Emerald City Mudhens – Plate Consolation Final

1999 – Division 1: Midwest Seed #3, Seed #11, Pool A
USA Rugby Bracket
27-5 Win vs. Coast – Round of 16
17-6 Loss vs. Berkeley All Blues – Quarter-Finals
39-17 Loss vs. Minnesota Valkyries – Plate Semi-Final
20-5 Loss vs. Twin Cities Amazons – Plate Consolation Final

1998 – Division 1, Tier B: Midwest Seed #3, Seed #7
USA Rugby Bracket
61-5 Win vs. Harlequin (Colorado) Olde Girls – Quarter-Finals Tier B
15-13 Loss vs. Atlanta Harlequins – Semi-Final Tier B
34-16 Win vs. Belmont Shore – 3rd Place Tier B