Beasting and feasting

Andrew Wuebker, Sports Editor

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — In last weekend’s annual Beast of the East tournament hosted by the Rhode Island Rugby Football Federation, the Roger Williams University men’s and women’s club rugby teams showed out once again.

Held at the Gardner Seveney Sports Complex in Portsmouth from April 14-15, the Hawks came into the weekend well prepared and ready to compete after a challenging conditioning program in the winter.

“Our team looks forward to the Beast weekend every year,” said senior Paige Murphy. “It’s one of the most challenging and demanding rugby weekends we have throughout the whole season. As a team, we prepared in the gym throughout the winter, and we were training on our pitch together in anticipation for the Beast. We all know how tough the Beast is every year, so we made it a priority to physically and mentally prepare ourselves.”

The men posted a tourney record of 3-2, ultimately losing in the Division III Plate Championship to State University of New York Maritime 31-10, while the women posted a 2-1 record, getting shut out by Bryant University in the Division II Cup Quarterfinal.

The men opened the weekend with a narrow 14-12 victory over Massachusetts Maritime Academy before falling to University of Maine at Farmington 17-10 later that afternoon.

The following day, RWU opened their play with a forfeit win over Bates College to put themselves into the Plate Semifinal, dismantling Curry College 44-7. In the Plate Championship, SUNY Maritime gave the men a formidable challenge resulting in a 31-10 loss.

For the women, their Beast of the East run lasted considerably shorter this year than in recent seasons. 

From 2014-16, the women were the reigning champs of Beast of the East and looked poised to take home the Cup Championship for the fourth consecutive year after starting the tournament unblemished with a 33-5 win over SUNY Oswego and a 24-7 victory over Springfield College, but a hungry Bryant Bulldogs team ran away with the game and never looked back, as the Hawks were shut out a shocking 34-0.

“Everyone was disappointed when we lost in the Beast to Bryant,” Murphy said. “They have been one of our toughest competitors throughout our season, and unfortunately this time we didn’t come out with a win against them. We were all devastated to lose after winning three years in a row, but we’ve been able to focus on the accomplishments we’ve made as a team over the past years including moving up into the Division II bracket and preparing to move up to a varsity sport next fall. We intend to improve from this loss and learn from our mistakes to come back a better team next year.”

Despite both clubs not coming away with any trophies from this year’s Beast of the East, both programs are still going strong.