Tim Klatt, associate director/recreation & sport clubs, (319) 273-7120
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The UNI Women's Rugby Club won the Collegiate Division II national tournament in Blaine, Minn., May 4, defeating the University of Minnesota 41-5, to claim their second national title in as many years.
Carrie Van Sickel, a UNI senior from Cedar Rapids, was named the game's most valuable player by USA Rugby.
'This is probably one of the best games we have ever played,' said UNI Coach Steve Murra. 'Eight of our 15 team members scored and everybody played hard. Both our offense and defense were strong, and Minnesota didn't score until the last 30 seconds. They are a good team, but we were just too much for them.'
The UNI Men's Rugby Club finished second in its national tournament, losing to Stanford University 26-15. The men's final was played in Virginia Beach, Va.
'We were coordinated and played well,' said UNI Coach Jason Nottger, 'but not well enough to overcome their kicking ability.'
Nottger said this is the first time on Iowa collegiate men's team has made it to the national final game.
'The dedication it has taken these student athletes to get to the national championships is amazing,' said Tim Klatt, associate director/recreation & sport clubs with UNI Wellness & Recreation Services. 'This is a club sport. The players are not on scholarship. Most of them were involved in other sports in high school and just got involved in rugby when they entered college.'
Klatt said that while the university and Northern Iowa Student Government are able to provide limited funding to the clubs, a large part of their support comes from their own fundraising efforts. The teams' coaches are not on the university's payroll, but serve as volunteers. Murra has been the women's coach since the team's formation in 1994. The men's team began in the 1970s and Nottger just completed his second year with the team.