Founder of women’s rugby club reflects on team, leadership lessons learned

Nov. 2, 2015

Rachel Librach
rlibrach@uccs.edu

The captain of the women’s rugby club believes that rugby has a different culture to it than any other sport she’s played and, similar to other clubs, offers new students the stability and support they need to transition to college.

Mia Pino is one of the captains of the team and founder of the club. She has seen a greater number of freshman participants this year than in the past.

“It depends on the semester, but we usually have around 15 to 25 students. This past year I have seen a lot more freshmen join and I think that has to do with freshmen living on campus. I’m seeing more people try out for this club and I think that will only increase as the number of incoming students increases,” she said.

Pino has seen a few challenges during the process of developing the club, including travel funding.

“We are only allotted $1,000 for travel out of the $3,000 granted to us through SGA. While we are the cheapest club sport on campus, our members having to pay $60 per semester, most of the money from players goes toward travel,” she said.

“We do not require pads or equipment like most other sports, so that saves us a lot of costs. However, starting a new club from scratch is initially expensive. SGA has really helped us keep our prices low,” Pino explained.

Pino brought up another challenge her club faces, the limited resources and practice space on campus.

“We work with Mallory Barger, the sports coordinator, to communicate with other sports and clubs who use the Alpine field and establish a\ schedule for each of our uses,” she said.

“It’s not always ideal, but we work with what we have.”

While the culture of rugby can be unusual, Pino believes that once you commit to the sport you will fall in love with it.

“I played it for CU-Boulder and missed so much when I transferred here that I decided to start this club. In the beginning it is rough, training a team with people who probably have never even heard of the sport before,” she said.

“But everyone who has played before are definitely willing to work with those people either outside of practice or slow practice down so they can catch up,” said Pino.

She mentioned that clubs foster strong relationships between members and are such a great way for students to get connected and find support from other groups on campus.

“For freshmen especially, clubs are a nice transition and help establish that close socially knit group of friends you can rely on and who give you their support,” Pino said.

Preparing for graduation this semester, Pino said her experience with the club has taught her about herself and has helped her grow as a person.

“Having to jump through all those hoops to start up a club sport was so educational. It taught me a lot about leadership and what I am actually capable of. It’s hard work, but it showed me what I could accomplish and just how much I care about developing other people,” she said.