Voices from the Crowd – Jayden Barr: Rugby Starr

Jayden Barr

Contributing Writer

 

It is my first year playing rugby at Wooster and my fifth year playing overall, as I played during high school. As a first-year student, finding out that Wooster had a rugby club made me very excited to join and extend my rugby career. I started playing rugby during high school with the Brunswick Valkyries, a club team in Brunswick, OH. Not only did I have no experience with the game, but I had no idea rugby was even a sport until my friend dragged me to a practice. I was so lost and confused throughout the entire first practice. However, the energy of the players and how they welcomed me as family kept me coming back.

Once I started to understand the game, I fell in love with rugby. I spent countless hours outside of practice, working with my high school coaches in one-on-one training sessions and joining a personal training company called NST to help me improve my skills and be more explosive on the field. I put in a lot of work in order to get where I am today. Unfortunately, during my senior year of high school, I played through terrible shoulder and neck pain. After my difficult senior season, I decided that my body needed me to stop playing the sport I loved so much, despite my previous plan to continue my rugby career at a very well-known school with other members of my graduating class. However, I noticed posters all over campus about a rugby club informational meeting during the first week of classes at Wooster. As a first-year student, I was unaware that there was even a rugby club at Wooster. Even though I was injured, I went to the meeting to get to know the players and make friends. Once I went to the meeting I couldn’t walk away and not play because I love rugby too much, so I joined the team. As soon as the meeting was over I called my parents to tell them I was going to join the team and two days later I went home to grab my cleats. I am so happy that I ended up joining. I know that I would have regretted it if I hadn’t. The Wooster rugby roaches, Stephanie and Skylar Snoeberger, are amazing and I am so thankful that they are our coaches. 

Starting the season was very tough because most of the team had never picked up a rugby ball before. The coaches were super patient with all the new players, and knowing what it was like to learn the game late, I took time to make sure the players felt comfortable and knew they weren’t alone. Our first game against Baldwin Wallace was a very tough and unfortunate loss. However, from that point moving forward, the team took initiative to get better. Watching film and having our amazing coaches Stephanie and Skylar Snoeberger to guide us helped us improve dramatically, as well as the determination in each one of my teammates.  

Rugby is a team sport and every single one of my teammates is an amazing athlete that brings something new to the field that is necessary to keep going. I personally saw such a growth from the team which struck me to push myself even harder. The Wooster women’s rugby club grew from not knowing how to pass a ball on the first day of practice to being tied for first place with the team that beat us. From the first game we fought long and hard to beat every team we faced. I am so proud of the Wooster Rugby team. I am also proud to announce that I received the rookie of the year award for the 15s season. Each player has improved and grew together. I cannot wait for the upcoming spring 7s season with my new rugby family.

The rugby club team finished its fall season with an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, Nov. 6. Congratulations on a great season and good luck preparing for the spring season!