Palmer College of Chiropractic preps for club rugby championships, hopes to inspire young girls

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – The women’s club rugby team at Palmer College of Chiropractic is set to compete in the USA Club Rugby National Championships later this month for the first time in program history.

On the pitch, the palmer college women’s club rugby team is dominant, winning 12 straight league games over the last two years.

“Since the beginning, [I’ve seen] the development of their skills, their confidence of what they do on the field, and how they play in general,” said Alex Lourens, Palmer College’s head coach. “They are growing into themselves as a team, and I am very proud of them.”

Off the field, Palmer College players said they want to show young girls that rugby is for everybody, and to just go for it.

“A lot of girls, especially in the states, don’t know a lot about rugby,” said Lauren Lybbert, Palmer College’s assistant coach. “For them to see any female sports team have success is great to have role models and somebody that they can relate to and look up to. Everyone out here is just a great role model.”

Captain El Smith said rugby is good for confidence building.

“I found rugby when I was 18, and it was a life-changing experience for me,” Smith said. “A lot of girls that are good at rugby don’t necessarily fit into any other sport. They are usually the ones that fouled out in basketball a lot or were too aggressive on the soccer field. Then they come here and go, ‘ Oh, I finally fit somewhere.’ All body types, any age. It doesn’t matter who you are. Everybody has a place on the rugby field. There’s no one that’s too much of anything or too little of anything to be here.”

Smith said the team is peaking at the right time.

“If you prepare, then there’s no reason to ever be nervous because you know exactly what is going to happen,” Smith said.

“We have no expectations at the end of the day, but we go everywhere to win, and that is the mindset of the team every time,” Lourens said. “We don’t like losing, so they are doing it for themselves. They’ll get through with their confidence, and energy and do it themselves.”

Smith said that this year’s team is one of her favorite teams to play on, and adds that every player is focused on putting the team first. It doesn’t matter who scores.

The Palmer College women’s club rugby team will compete in the national semifinals on May 21 in Atlanta. The championship game takes place on May 22.

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