The Quest | The Free Press of Reed College

Reed Teams Toughen Up

What words come to mind when you think of sports at Reed? Recreational? Intramural? Mandatory?

Some sports groups on campus are adding the word “competitive” to this list. Last year, “The Reed College Berserk,” Reed’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, placed 9th at the USA Ultimate Division III National Championships. Ultimate Frisbee Coach Shane Rubenfeld says, “[the team] qualified…by clinching second place at the Regional tournament with an upset of longtime rivals Lewis and Clark College. They then had three weeks of practice, overlapping with Renn Fayre, reading week, finals and graduation to prepare for the national tournament.”

Women’s Rugby is also showcasing a new competitive edge. Reed’s two new coaches, Sharon Blaney and Beckett Royce, are USA Women’s Rugby Players and have played for the World Cup in 2010 in London. The two professional rugby players have been pleased with the Reed rugby program so far. “We went on a trial basis last season and we really enjoyed working with the school, we enjoy the girls, and we see that there is a lot of potential with this school and with this program,” says Blaney.

Though the program has seen its share of difficulty, plans for Women’s Rugby competitive future are bright, says Coach Blaney. “We’ve got a new Rugby conference in the Northwest. It’s the Cascade Collegiate Women’s Ruby Conference…Hopefully it will continue to grow over the next couple of years…we’ll have divisional playoffs and send someone to national playoffs.”

Assistant rowing coach Robert Klein also sees growing interest this year: “There’s a handful of students who have rowed in the past and who have rowed competitively and I think they’re looking for some of that right now…There are a couple good seeds who are building that up.”

While investment in sports might not be the first characteristic one associates with a Reedie, Reedies are reaping the benefits of the new atmosphere, says Klein. “Anybody can really do anything they want to as long as they put the work into it—and so I think that’s the value of competition. It’s a measuring stick…it shows you very clearly because there’s a time associated to it.” Blaney agrees. Competition, she says, “helped me understand that I could reach what I thought were these unreachable and unattainable goals.” These coaches hope that they can share these values with their players.

As for now, the teams are seeds looking to grow towards a possibly more competitive direction. And so what do these coaches need?

“Coxswains,” says Klein. “If we don’t have coxswains it’s like we don’t have a quarterback for our team.” Blaney adds: “We just got new jerseys and everything so we’re hoping to fill all the numbers.”

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