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Club spotlight: WKU rugby continues to flourish

Adam Cowgill drives past defenders in a game against Miami (Ohio) University. Photo credits to family members of the WKU rugby club team.

WKU Men’s Rugby club team has continued to be one of the University’s most competitive club teams in 2024 after a strong 2023 season.

The Dirty Reds won their Conference 7’s Championship in the 2023 spring season and had continued success throughout the full year. 

According to senior and second year team member Logan Palmer, the team has only improved since the strong 2023 season.

“Our team has improved tremendously this season compared to last year.” Palmer said. “The number of players has nearly doubled and we were lucky enough to keep the majority of our veterans from last season. I can confidently say this has been the best the team has looked since I have been playing.”

The Dirty Red’s spring season has started off on a strong note as the team has a record of 5-3 through a couple of tournament formats. 

“Our only losses have come against top schools in the nation such as the University of Louisville and the University of Tennessee.” Palmer said. 

During the Spring semester the team will be playing in a couple major tournaments. The first will be a conference tournament on March 16 in Obetz, Ohio. The second will be the Moosemen Tournament in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

“Both of these are national qualifiers which can really push us to that next level as long as we perform to our capabilities.” Junior team captain Cameron Weigand said. 

The Dirty Reds are looking to build continued success throughout the Spring semester and into the next Fall semester. 

The Fall and Spring semester setups are very different as in the Spring the team plays in competitions that allow seven men on the field while Fall competitions allow 15.

“In spring we play 7’s which are a lot more fast paced.” Weigand said. “A lot of our veterans are better suited for 7’s rugby. For the fall season we play with 15 guys on the field which leads to bigger and stronger guys being more valuable which is where a lot of our younger guys will be able to stand out. Next fall we shouldn’t be losing any of our guys so we will still be strong and extremely competitive allowing us to get more experience.”

Senior team captain Adam Cowgill added that the team has continued to improve and grow every year he has been a member. 

“Our player retention has been better than any other year that I have been here.” Cowgill said.

Despite the growth of the club program at WKU, growing the popularity of the team across campus has been somewhat of a challenge. 

“It has been hard to grow the sports popularity on campus as it isn’t a mainstream sport in the United States yet but I predict it will be within the next five years.” Cowgill said. 

Weigand added that the team has been attempting to spread the word of their existence and thinks that more and more people are becoming aware of Rugby. 

“I’d like to think that the club has become more known around campus, considering the amount of players we gained in the past year.” Palmer said. “I also understand, though, that it is hard for the general population of WKU students to know about the rugby team when many students probably have never seen rugby before and rugby isn’t considered a top sport in the US.”


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