In the Locker Room: Jennifer Sargrad and Catherine Wolner
They’re tough. They’re strong. They’re fast. They’re Rhinos, and they really hit hard! These aren’t your average women with high heels and polished nails. These women are intimidating on the field, and if you think you know, you have no idea. The Oberlin College Rhino Ruggers had a winning season this year with a 4-2 record, defeating teams such as Kenyon, Ashland and Ohio Wesleyan. This was the first year that the team had more rookies than veterans with 25 solid first-years. Co-captains and coaches junior Catherine “Cat” Wolner and senior Jennifer “Buster” Sargrad had a lot to say about this year’s season and about the team. Despite a tough loss to Wittenberg in the first round of the playoffs, the team is looking to brush off their shoulders and get hyped for another show down next season.
Cassius Harris: Cat, what happens when someone scores their first try, or score?
Cat Wolner: (laughing) Well, when you score for the first time in an official game, you run around naked. This is a tradition that is done all over the country, and we’ve seen other teams do this as well.
CH: Cat, I heard you are going to Scotland to study abroad for geology next semester and you plan on playing rugby there. How excited are you about this?
CW: I’m so excited to play there because rugby is so much huger there than it is here. It would be like playing Division I varsity football. All of a sudden coming from a club sport to having a coach, and being a part of a culture where rugby started, is going to be great. I’m going to get so much knowledge and good experience to bring back for my senior year.
CH: Do you guys find it difficult and at times overwhelming to play three different roles on the team? To be a captain, player and coach all at the same time?
Jenn Sargrad: It’s definitely strange because on the one hand you are trying to improve your game and stay in shape, but on the other hand you have to take a step back and make sure everyone else is learning.
CW: I would say that it makes your understanding of the game improve a lot, just by necessity, because you have to be paying attention to what everybody is doing all the time. You really get a better understanding of strategy. It can be frustrating at times because when you’re an athlete, you want to do really well, and you have to focus really hard mentally. And when your focus is divided between what you’re doing and what everyone else is doing, then you don’t have the same kind of concentration.
CH: How do you feel about socializing with other opponents after the game?
JS: There are some teams that you do not want to social with, depending on how good the game goes. The socials are usually a good way to end the game.
CW: It depends on the vibe that happens on the field. If you play a team that’s equally as good as you, you’re more likely to have a really good social. Rugby is a sport where almost all kinds of contact are allowed. If a player has to play dirty, then that says something about her, and I wouldn’t want to social with that person.
CH: Jenn, I understand that your nickname is “Buster.” Did you receive this name freshman year?
JS: Well, I got it freshman year because there were just too many Jenns on the team. One day when we were running sprints, someone decided that I needed a nickname, so Caroline said my name should be “Buster.”
CH: Oh, so someone just decided one day that you had to have a nickname?
JS: (laughing) Yeah, I guess. Plus, I look like a “Buster.”
CH: I understand that you guys are coming out with a new rugby calendar for this year, correct?
CW: Yeah, it’s definitely more about being like the pin-up girl, but it’s also about something a little different. There’s something that for me is way cooler about the tease.
JS: This one is going to be more educational. It’s going to show the basics of rugby for people who don’t know rugby, but it’s also going to have the same play on gender stereotypes.
CH: That’s cool. What are your thoughts about the men’s rugby team starting up?
JS: I think it’s cool. The more rugby the better.
CW: I’m all for it. They work really, really hard, and they don’t have a lot of experienced players. They’re starting from nothing, and that takes a lot of guts.
CH: Last question: would you be interested in scrimmaging some football guys in a rugby match? Would you coach us up on the game, teach us some things, and then scrimmage us? How would you feel about that?
CW: Yeah, totally! It would be good because you guys are bigger and probably faster, but we are more familiar with the game. So yeah, if we split the teams up with half football players and rugby players on the same team, that would be fun.