As most of you may have heard, your WWU Men’s Rugby Club won the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference title, last Saturday at Magnuson Park in Seattle.
Western defeated Eastern, 38 -14, on a cold, blustery, rainy day. The Vikings were tested early, going down 7-0 to Eastern in the first few minutes, but came back and scored 26 unanswered points before Eastern was given a gift try in the last few minutes of the match. The Vikings then scored two more tries in the last few minutes to get to the final score. Some say the match was closer than the score indicated but the Vikings were never really tested after Eastern’s first score.
By winning the NCRC Championship the boys qualified for the USA Rugby D1-AA National Collegiate Championships, the first round of which is the West Regional, to be held in Austin, Texas, April 27/28.
To say that the team has exceeded the coaches expectations, the Alumni Associations expectations, the University’s expectations, even the rugby community’s expectations, this first year would be one of the understatements of the year.
USA Rugby, in their infinite wisdom, sited the West Regional in Austin even though the three automatic qualifiers (All Conference Championship winners) were from Southern California (Cal State – Long Beach…1,400 miles away), Northern California (Cal State – Chico…1,900 miles away), and the NCRC (WWU – Bellingham…2,300 miles away). It is going to be difficult for those California schools to fund the trip to Austin, as well.
The budget for the trip will be somewhere in the $17 – 18,000 range for airfare, van rental, and hotels.
The WWU Campus Rec program has no money left to give the club for travel. There have been several of the WWU Club teams that have done very well this year and qualified for their respective regional or national competitions. Those Clubs, like rugby, struggle for funding as well. In addition, the Rugby Club was given funds by the Campus Rec program to attend the National 7’s Tournament back in late November, in College Station, Texas.
Those WWU Alumni Men’s Rugby Alumni Association members who have contributed, either through the Alumni Association or the Western Foundation have been very generous but, as we near the end of the year, the Alumni account is not able to totally support the travel to Texas.
The WWU Men’s Rugby Club has itself committed to paying as much as they can to go on the trip, but they have also committed to the idea that we have to take our best team or we don’t go.
We must notify USA Rugby today if we’re going to commit to the West Regional. We’re going to ask for a 24 hour delay to see if we can get something done.
We’re not asking you for money, although if you’d like to donate to the cause, those donations would be accepted. What we’re asking for are ideas. Ideas that would allow the WWU Men’s Rugby Club members to raise funds, businesses that would like to get involved, things like that.
For example, does anyone have connections with any of the airlines? Could we donate some of our unused air miles, etc? Does anyone have any Boeing connections, is Boeing delivering any planes to the Dallas/Ft Worth area that would be flying empty? Or any other ideas that might generate funds or complimentary travel or hotels quickly? Unused gift cards, or any other form of swag we can use to cover travel, hotel, or food?
What are your thoughts on all of this? Should we just take the NCRC Championship and run with it and focus efforts on the future years programs?
One of our goals as WWU Men’s Rugby Club Alumni Association is to do everything we can to support the WWU Men’s Rugby Club that we can, realizing that, as a ‘club sport’ at Western there will never be a lot of funds available from the University. The University does a great job with what they have but they don’t have enough to give ‘club sports’ all that they’d like.
We believe the Men’s Rugby Alumni Association will get to the point in the next couple of years where we can support just about everything the Men’s Rugby Club would like to do. We continue to build support, and the successes of the team certainly help, but it is the support of the alumni and friends that will drive most of it. With your continued support of our fund raising programs and your outright donations we know we can get there…but we’re not there yet.
Let us know what you think…. Send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it on to the committee.
President, WWU Men’s Rugby Alumni Association