Friday, October 25, 2013

Crusader Girls Rugby plays for State...again!

from today's Waukesha Freeman -

Rugby team to play for state title
CMH to play in third straight championship contest
Freeman Staff 

WAUKESHA – John Waliszewski admits he has few responsibilities during a game.

As coach of the Catholic Memorial High School girls rugby team, most of his work is done in practice. At game time, he is more of an observer.

“There are no timeouts in rugby, so coaches don’t really call things,” he said. “It’s very much player-centered and they have to make countless decisions on situations. The coach doesn’t have as much influence as basketball or football.

“It’s stressful. Actually, the games are just fun. I’m as much of a fan as I am a coach.”

Waliszewski will get one last time to be a fan this fall as CMH will play Divine Savior Holy Angels in the state championship game at Naga-Waukee Park on Sunday. It is the third straight time the teams have met for the state title, with DSHA winning the previous two meetings.

DSHA, an all-girls school with an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, has
 approximately 50 girls in its program. CMH has 23.

“We’ve got a really commited core of girls,” Waliszewski said. “Everyone touches the ball out there, everyone is involved.”

A rugby field is wider than a football field, and each side has 15 players on the field. Many of the players coming into CMH have never played rugby or have very minimal experience with the sport.

“Waukesha County Parks has touch rugby in the summer, but it can’t quite compare
 that to the full-contact game we play.

“It’s tough to teach, and it takes girls a while to get the hang of it. At the same time, it’s nice because it’s an open window into the sport. A girl can come in without any background and within a year be successful.”

CMH senior Rebecca Haight broke the program’s single-season scoring record with 21 tries this season.

“She’s the fastest player I’ve ever coached,” Waliszewski
 said. “She’s a great finisher and scores a lot of long, breakaway tries.”

Waliszewski pointed to senior captain Maggie Wesolowski’s play this season as being integral in the team’s success in the fall.

“We did a major position change with her, and it’s paid off big time for her,” Waliszewski said. “She’s now playing 8 man, which is more like a linebacker in the middle of the field. She’s really a presence on defense once she’s made the switch.”

Sunday’s competition features four games, with teams playing in first-, third, fifthand seventh-place games. Seven of the teams are from southeastern Wisconsin.

“For right now, the strength of our conference is southeast Wisconsin,” Waliszewski said. “We’re looking on expanding to the Appleton, Fond du Lac area.”


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