Record anticipates launching first women’s rugby season

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Record anticipates launching first women’s rugby season

The new women’s rugby team is paving the way here at Guilford for up and coming women’s sports. Guilford College Director of Athletics Sue Bower announced the addition of women’s rugby to the school’s varsity athletics program on May 24, 2019.

The announcement raises the college’s number of varsity teams to 21. Although, they won’t begin playing until the fall of 2020.

Since 2002, women’s rugby has been considered an emerging sport by the NCAA. An emerging sport is a women’s sport recognized by the NCAA that is intended to help schools provide more athletics opportunities for women and more sport-sponsorship options for the institutions, and also help that sport achieve NCAA championship status.

Aug. 5, 2019, Director of Athletics Sue Bower announced the appointment of Emily Record as the Quakers’ first women’s rugby head coach in school history. Record comes to Guilford from Queens University of Charlotte, where she spent the past year as an assistant coach for the Royals.

Queens posted a 26-11 record last season, playing a mix of club and varsity teams. Record expressed excitement for the prospect of building a program.

“I really wanted to be a head coach at a small school,” said Record. “I like the community (Guilford) offers, and I think that setting up a program is a very unique opportunity. To pass that up would be silly.”

Guilford aspires to compete in Tier II of the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) under the auspices of USA Rugby. There are 18 teams in the two-tiered NIRA, which uses 15 member teams in the fall and seven member sides in the spring.

“We just print a letter to join NIRA, the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association, and they oversee all of the NCAA teams,” Record remarked. “We are currently the only D-III team in the South.”

Until the team joins the NIRA, the Quakers could play against club rugby teams from regional colleges and universities in the Division II Carolinas League or with the National Small College Rugby Organization, which also plays 15s in the fall and sevens in the spring.

Currently, the two closest teams from the NSCRO are Lee University in Cleveland, TN, and St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC. Regional schools like Elon, Queens and UNCG all compete in the Rocky Mountain Conference.

“We’re trying to get other ODAC and D-III schools to come join, and we’re working with NIRA to play D-II teams in the South and Mid-Atlantic next season,” Record said.

Record is excited about the process of building with eager players new to the sport. The head coach remarked that they started off with learning the basics since the girls don’t have prior experience.

Record is looking to recruit some new girls for the inaugural season.

“This fall I’ve been spending a lot of time in North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, (all over) the mid-atlantic area (looking for potential recruits),” Record said. 

The new coach is thrilled to be helping to raise the profile of women’s rugby in the North Carolina region.

“What an honor!” exclaimed Record. “I never thought about it that way. It’s just awesome.”

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