Women’s and men’s rugby both take away Ivy League 7s titles
The thrilling rugby 7s division championships meant multiple Big Green victories in Ivy League competition at Brophy Field in Hanover.
It was a Big Green sweep this past weekend, with both the women’s varsity rugby team and Dartmouth Rugby Football Club clinching Ivy League 7s titles. The tournament took place at Brophy Field, the Big Green’s home pitch — an “incredible” environment due to support from the student body and families of the athletes, according to men’s head coach Kyle Sumsion.
Rugby 7s is quite a different game from rugby 15s, as only seven athletes take the field at a time to play seven-minute rather than 40-minute halves. With less bodies on the field, conditioning and fitness are heavily emphasized in preparing for these 7s tournaments. For the DRFC, this conditioning paid off in the final.
“They’ve worked really hard on their fitness,” Sumsion said about DRFC. “I think that showed in the final… all of our guys had more gas in the tank, so to speak, compared to our opposition.”
For the women’s elite team, there was a large emphasis on technical maneuvers to ensure a win this tournament, particularly after coming off a loss at the Tropical 7s tournament in Tampa, Florida, just two weeks prior to the Ivy League tournament.
Anjali Pant ’24 said the team practiced specific edge moves to ensure that there were players there to support one another in “line breaks” — when a player is left alone to make tackles by themselves. In addition to these more technical focuses, Ariana Ramsey ’22 and Pant both noted their coaches’ advice to “stay loose and have fun with each other” –– a testament to the power of working as a team and staying calm in high-pressure situations.
The women played highly competitive teams, notably Harvard University and Brown University. Pant described the strong mentality that she and her teammates had going into their game against Brown, as they knew it would be a tough match.
“Brown is definitely a super physical team, and we knew that coming in that they hit hard,” Pant said. “[We went in] respecting each team, knowing they were going to bring us a different type of challenge. What we have wins championships.”
Both rugby teams had some incredible performances, which played pivotal roles in earning these titles. Ramsey had two hattricks — three tries scored by one player in a single game — in two games, one against Princeton and the second against Harvard in the final.
For the DRFC, Luke Wilson ’25 scored a breakaway try in the last minute of the final against Brown, assisted by one of the co-captains Jaime Chuidian ’23, who then passed off the ball to Wilson. Co-captain Matias Calvo ’23 described this game-winning try as “a story book ending.”
The men’s win against Brown in the final was made even sweeter by the fact that the Big Green had lost to the Bears in a very similar way this past fall. Calvo said that the team had a desire to “rewrite that script.”
Chuidian added that Brown has more funding and about twice as many recruited rugby players as Dartmouth, yet it was the Big Green who came out on top. Sumsion emphasized the value of training in the DRFC’s success.
“As coaches and as a team, we put a lot of stock into individuals and make sure we coach them up, and that they get the training and the time to play, so that they are ready to compete,” Sumsion said. “Three out of our seven guys that were starting in that final started rugby when they first came to Dartmouth, so I think it is a testament that if anyone is willing to come and work hard and be part of the team, there is a place for you.”
The two DRFC co-captains also described the legacy they had hoped to leave behind, both on and off the pitch. Chuidian said that one of his main goals as a co-captain was fostering a greater love for the sport.
“[Matias and I] both grew up playing rugby, different from most Americans who have come [to Dartmouth] and learned, so we inherently have this massive love for the sport,” said Chuidian. “I think we’ve portrayed [rugby] in a way that we hope is infectious to other people, just to show to other people how passionate we are, how committed we are to not just the club, but to the sport itself.”
Calvo said that one of his favorite memories from this past weekend was the spectators storming the field after each team’s win. Ramsey echoed Calvo’s sentiment.
“When [DRFC] won, everyone ran out onto the field, and when we won they did the same for us, so I feel like it was just a good time of unity between the two of us,” Ramsey said. “We both share a [field] house, so the whole household won, and I think that’s really cool.”