[Photos courtesy of Tony Lee]
By Sara Johnson, Staff Writer, @sarajohnsauce
ST. BONAVENTURE (Feb. 17) – After a winless season two years ago, the St. Bonaventure University women’s rugby team has had a 180-degree transformation, named New York State Champions and ranked fourth nationally this past fall.
Last Friday, the president of St. Bonaventure University, Sister Margaret Carney, O.S.F., hosted the first annual SBU women’s rugby banquet in celebration of the team’s accomplishments.
The faculty advisor, Tracy Schrems, had planned the banquet earlier in the winning season, but after Sr. Margaret got word, she insisted on hosting the banquet herself.
“When Sr. Margaret heard I was footing the bill for the banquet, she said, ‘No, you’re not,’” said Schrems, an English professor. “And when a nun tells you to do something, you do it.”
Sr. Margaret said she has never been more proud of this group of girls and couldn’t have been happier to provide this banquet for them.
“They are state champions and went on to Nationals, and I believe they deserve to be recognized for that in a very special way,” said Sr. Margaret.
Over the past few years, Sr. Margaret has seen the hard work and dedication the team has put into its seasons.
“They are a club sport and have to operate so much more on their own,” said Sr. Margaret. “I really admire that all the more because they don’t get the same support as the A-10 sports do.”
And to the players, the banquet was a symbol of success.
“We’ve gone from nothing to something, and Sr. Margaret saw that, too,” said Kayla O’Keefe, co-captain of the women’s team.
The team repeatedly mentioned how appreciative they are of the support they received from Sr. Margaret throughout the whole season.
“She was cheering for us from the beginning to the end,” said junior Rebecca Weitzel. “She even came to watch us play in Nationals in New Jersey. Having that support from the president of the university made us want to make the school proud. And I think we did that.”
As for next year, Sr. Margaret has high hopes for another successful season.
“That momentum builds, and I’m very eager and optimistic for the team to do well next year,” said Sr. Margaret.