PALO ALTO, CALIF. – A 32-point first half explosion kick-started Norwich University to its first USA Rugby Division II collegiate national championship May 12.
Coach Austin Hall's Cadets, picking up where they left off after a 21-point second half roll against Washington State in the semifinals May 11, roared out to a 32-7 halftime lead on Winona State en route to an 82-12 victory at Steuber Rugby Stadium on Stanford University's campus. The Maroon and Gold, ending the season at 25-2, added the traditional title to its Sevens championship recorded this past December.
Senior flanker Hannah Bushey (Essex Junction, Vt.) opened the scoring early in the first frame, and NU was off to the races. Sophomore prop Bailey Annis (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) added two trys to the first half total.
The second half saw more of the same from the champions. Sophomore center/wing Rose Bernheim (Andrews AFB, Md.), sophomore center/wing Joya Clark (Scotia, N.Y.), freshman center/wing Vanessa Champagne (St. Nazarie. Quebec) and freshman scrumhalf Emily Orr (Uxbridge, Ont.) each wrapped up two-try days. Junior flyhalf Emily Baugus (Kingsville, Texas) turned in a drop-kick field goal and seven conversion kicks.
Senior captain and center Katie Hathaway (Amesbury, Mass.), as did Bushey, Ferne Ryder (Grand Isle, Vt.), Marlene Dwyer (Long Island, N.Y.), Janet Roswell (New Hampton, N.H.) and Allissa Amodeo (Ringwood, N.J.), closed the book on a glowing Cadets' rugby career. She ended the tournament with Most Valuable Player honors.
"This victory is the product of eight months of hard work," Hall said. "The girls have wanted this from day one, setting their hearts on something and following through.
"I'm thrilled to see the seniors go out like this," he added. "They were leading this effort from the beginning."