The Geneseo women’s club rugby team, known as the Lady Warthogs, enjoys both athletic progress and a tight-knit connected team culture. The group exhibits copious amounts of devotion and a winning attitude.
Senior captain Vickie Allen credits her team with impressive performances throughout her time at Geneseo.
“In my four years at Geneseo, we have gone to national playoffs three out of the four years,” Allen said.
This tradition of excellence has been carried throughout the club’s lifetime.
The team also benefits from the coaching experience of Colin Partridge—a Geneseo alumnus who is described as “a rugby genius.” This team is known for taking inexperienced players and turning them into great ones.
The Lady Warthogs’ motto is “no experience needed.” Very few people come into the club having played rugby before.
“This season we recruited 21 new players, none of whom had rugby experience,” Allen said. “We take people who may have never even played a sport in their life, and create rugby champions.”
While this may seem ambitious, the team constantly finds new ways to work well with one another. This can be attributed to the sheer amount of time these athletes spend with each other.
In addition to practices and games, the team also dedicates time off the field together, and will study as a team, take trips to Rochester and have dinners together.
Rugby is primarily concerned with respect; therefore, all of the players must have a lot of integrity. On the pitch the women refer to the referee as “sir,” and only the captain can address him. Often in games, the players will compliment and acknowledge great plays made by the other team.
This level of respect for excellent play during games makes rugby unique—and that’s not even including the physical toll of the sport.
The team practices for two hours five days a week. This rigorous schedule demonstrates their commitment to continue to improve their game.
Rugby requires 80 minutes of players using their entire body for intense labor, thus making it a sport of both endurance and strength. “Developing a love for the sport is crucial,” according to Allen.
The club is split into two sides: the Division II side and the National Small College Rugby Organization side. On the DII side, the Lady Warthogs finished the season third in their division and next week will take on the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut for playoffs. Last season the DII side was ranked No. 9 in the nation.
On the NSCRO side, many new players used this as a building season to learn the sport. The NSCRO team was lucky to play the first home game against Canisius College on the Lady Warthogs’ new pitch.
“The growth of the NSCRO side was incredible this season,” Allen said, “It will be great to see these bright, eager players move to the DII side next season.”
Senior captain Adele Antalek echoed Allen’s excitement, and is looking forward to the upcoming playoff game.
“We actually didn’t get in at first and had to submit a bid,” Antalek said. “When we got the email saying we’d made it, we were so pumped and there was a whirlwind of planning and getting back into practice.”
This bid gave the 12 starting seniors a second-chance to play rugby at a playoff level. Antalek has been a member of the team since her freshman year and described joining the team as “one of the greatest decisions I’ve made at Geneseo.”
In a particularly memorable moment for the team, Tiffany Faaee, the captain of a national women’s rugby team, the Eagles, visited the Lady Warthogs and signed their Most Valuable Player game ball after a game against Syracuse University.
This club embodies Geneseo’s values of inclusivity and the importance of learning, and is certainly an asset to the community.u