Women’s rugby team reflects on senior night and looks forward to playoffs


Madison Hadden being celebrated. Photo by Jacob Thompson / Thompson Sports Photos

Isaac Hinson, Sports Editor

The regular season for the women’s Rugby team has come to a close, and the Wildcats sit with a 4-3 record as they prepare for the D1 Elite Semifinals. 

Before the game, the Wildcats found themselves celebrating their seniors, Keia Mae Sagapolu, Shona Kennedy and Madison Hadden. 

“It’s bittersweet,” Hadden said about being honored at senior night. “Everyone knew it was our last game in Ellensburg, which was a weird feeling. It was nice to be celebrated. You put in all this hard work and dedication over these four years, and you kind of get it back on that day.”

After the celebration, the Wildcats went to battle with the Life University (LU) Running Eagles, ultimately falling short 15-19. 

“Unfortunately, we didn’t win,” Hadden said. “We were up the entire game until the last three minutes when they scored, which was disappointing, but we’re going go play them again next week in Maryland. This time for revenge.”

As Hadden alluded to, the Wildcats will be playing LU again on Nov. 19 at the D1 Elite Semifinals in Maryland for a chance to play in the championship game in Charlotte, NC.

“Same business as usual,” Hadden said about how the team is preparing for the upcoming game. “Putting in the hard work… We’re here non-stop everyday, putting in two hours of practice everyday and lifting heavy… We know we can beat them.”

Hadden talked more about how the Wildcats are preparing for the pivotal game. 

“We’ve been doing a bunch of film meetings and setting personal goals,” Hadden said. “We’re trying to flip that switch and be confident in ourselves that we can actually win and beat this team, because we can.”

Sophomore hooker Maleena Mero shed light on the mentality that the Wildcats are going to bring to the upcoming game in Maryland. 

“We always have the same mentality, which is ‘Be the storm’,” Mero said. “We want to crush down on the opposing team. But we are definitely going to tweak the way that we’ve been doing some things… if you don’t change the way you play, you will never improve.”

To Mero, what makes this team special is the culture they’ve built as a unit over the course of the season. 

“This is the best culture I’ve ever experienced before,” Mero said. “That’s kind of what rugby is known for, that amazing embracing culture, and going all out for the person next to you. We really encompass all of that but also the open-mindedness… Every day in practice we’re passing or tackling with someone new.”

Hadden believes that this year’s team has the ability to go all the way, but it starts with believing they can. 

“This is the best year for us to win that national championship and get a ring on our fingers,” Hadden said. “We have some really killer freshmen that came in this year and really bonded and connected well with the team. We’re on top of our game this year, we’re understanding our flow and structure. We haven’t really connected as well as we have this year in years past.”

Mero highlighted the freshmen unit as well. 

“They were kind of like a firestarter for the whole team,” Mero said. “Everyone upped their game and really got into it. We’ve become very cohesive. We have a lot of chemistry, and that’s what we’re taking into the semifinals.”