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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications

Women's rugby team an important Reed resource

Team hopes to continue dominance on the field while being a positive influence for Reed women off the field

PORTLAND, OR (September 22, 2004) - For Sarah Jean de Haan, a senior English major, participating in women’s rugby is not only about being the best she can be on the field, but is also about helping to assist women off the field. Having never played prior to attending Reed, rugby gave de Haan a tremendous boost of confidence. For young women, she admits, this is essential.

"Women’s rugby here at Reed is incredibly important for young women, as it teaches them both determination and that they are strong and capable of doing whatever they want with their bodies."

Additionally, de Haan believes that the community-building skills that the women’s rugby team teaches its players are especially important at an academically-rigorous institution like Reed.

"Playing rugby allows us to get away from the academics and create ties with other members of our community; it teaches us how to exist in a supportive environment, and how our individual contributions sustain the community."

Sophomore Suzanna Goldblatt agrees. She believes that academic success at Reed depends on whether students possess a physical outlet for pent-up stress.

"Rugby has been a really good outlet for me, and not just for physical aggression either. At a place that can be as intense as Reed, it's good to have an occasion to yell, scream, and throw yourself head-first into another human being; it’s really relaxing."

Before these women can be the best that they can be, however, they first must work very hard. Team practices are long and require a great deal of physical exertion. As part of their training to both improve themselves both on and off the field, the women must endure myriad physical hardships for hours at a time. For most, however, the work is worthwhile.

Often, de Haan reveals, the women scrimmage against the boys in practice. The outcome of these scrimmages, she believes, should be obvious.

"We totally hold our own against the guys," she says with a grin and a chuckle.

Although it only has existed for two decades, Reed’s women’s rugby team is a renowned and well-established part of the college. Created in the mid-1980s by a few students who had fallen in love with the sport during time spent abroad, the rugby teams at Reed quickly grew in popularity and became an integral part of campus life.

Looking towards the future, the goals of the women’s rugby team for the upcoming semester are crucial to both to the team’s success and to their desire to affect a positive influence on women at Reed.

"Our goals for this semester," de Haan goes on to state, "include continuing to build a stronger, more cohesive team, recruiting more women to play, maintaining our past levels of performance, working to expand the team with new recruits from the recently-arrived class of ’08, and continuing to have a positive influence on the lives of women. We want to encourage women to come out and play, even if they have never played before."

If the women desire to duplicate their past successes, however, then they will have to work both was harder than they ever have before. During the 1990s, Reed’s women’s rugby team both was amongst the best on the West Coast and produced five collegiate all-Americans.

Their hopes high, the women’s rugby team at Reed looks to have another productive and successful year in 2004-5.


Reed College
Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes Scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit