Palmer Women’s Rugby holds non-exhibition home game for first time in nearly 2 years

The women’s team is the defending Midwest Rugby Football Union Champions
Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 1:21 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - For many, Homecoming involves class reunions, a dance, and a big football game.

At Palmer College though, the football looks different.

For the first time since the season ended in Fall 2019, Palmer’s Men’s and Women’s Rugby Teams took to the field of their home stadium at Centennial Park. Exhibition matches had been played in Spring 2021, but the weekend play was a part of Midwest Rugby Football Union action.

“I can tell everyone was anxious to get back on the field and play to get started, it feels great, we started out 2-0,” Palmer Coach Charbel Medlej said.

After becoming Midwest champions in Fall 2019, regional champions typically get to compete for a national championship the following Spring. However, with COVID-19, the 2020 Spring championship was canceled. Rugger Maddy Miller is using the missed opportunity as motivation.

“We didn’t get to go to nationals and you know that’s still the goal, of course, every year but we really, really want to get there,” Miller said.

Miller has been a part of the team for three years and said she joined after learning what rugby was from work.

“I worked at Kilkenny’s as a bartender and a lot of the regulars obviously come from Palmer and other universities and I just met a couple of the men on their team and they were like ‘oh we play rugby,’” Miller said, “and I was like ‘oh, sick’ and they introduce me to some of their friends that were girls and that’s when I found out there was a rugby team and that convinced me to come and then I showed up for a practice and obviously I fell in love,” Miller said.

“I honestly never knew what rugby was until I showed up for the first practice, it’s kind of insane, I didn’t even know something like that would even be in the Quad Cities so it’s nice that it is here because it gives us an extra thing to do,” Miller said, “This is free therapy.”

Both the Men’s and Women’s teams welcome new players at any time of the year. Players also do not have to be Palmer students to join. If you’re interested, the team asks you to contact the Palmer Rugby Facebook Page.

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