Athletes of the Week: Canvasser, Penick, and CMU Women’s Rugby

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 8:33 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The Colorado Women’s Rugby 7′s team made school history as the third team in school history to take home a national championship.

“It’s crazy. It’s cool. Like I feel like it hasn’t really sunk in like it feels like every tournament we win is kind of like a national championship. This one just came with a big trophy,” Junior Wing Sarah Penick said,

“I think it’s going to be a while before I fully process it. In the moment. It was definitely unreal. Like it felt like a dream. We were running out and I was like, Oh my gosh,” Senior Fly Half Emily Canvasser said.

But it was not easy, even from a travel standpoint, on top of logging long travel hours, the Mavs also had to make things work on the academic side of things, with the school year coming to a close. Even going as far as having the coaching staff proctor tests at times.

“We’ve had a lot of crazy travel stories as a team. We started out our season, having to drive in our personal cars. We’ve had trips that have lasted over 24 hours and like our coaches driven the whole time,” Penick said.

“It has been pretty insane. But we were in Texas, I think two weeks ago. So we’re in Texas competing for nationals. And then we’re rushing back for finals and graduations. That’s pretty insane. It’s been a wild couple of weeks,”

After arriving in Texas for the national championships, the Mavs took off, taking down the Fairfield Stags and Yale Bulldogs, before losing to the San Jose State Spartans, rebounding with a Victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs, to set up a rematch against San Jose State. There the Mavericks got their payback, taking down the Spartans and taking home the trophy.

“Yeah, I think it was a great season. And we had a lot of wins. And that was crazy. But I think it was important for us going into the national tournament, deciding that it was 0-0. And deciding that like the rest of the season didn’t matter. This is where season started,” Penick said.

Canvasser and Penick both said they hope the team climbing to the top of the mountain infuses more energy into the program going forward.

“I hope it instills like a lot of interest in rugby, that would be sick. I mean, a lot of people don’t know CMU has a rugby team. But I’m super excited for the girls who didn’t get to come to our national championship and who have gotten to play on this team,” Penick said.

“I think what’s really special about this team is we don’t scream from the rooftops that we want your attention. We go out on the field and we prove to you why we deserve it. And I think I hope this really stamps that down for the school and for this program. And now we have a national championship,” Canvasser said.