Sussex, WI–Hamilton will begin its first official spring season in team history with a pair of new coaches tasked with helping Hamilton to a state championship in 7s rugby.
Katie McNeil and Amanda Christianson who go by their rugby names, Mac and Snooki respectively, have been visible members of the rugby community, and both coaches are USA Rugby Level 200 certified.
Coach Mac started her rugby playing career at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2006 where she played the 8 position and served as the team captain and team president under Coach Barry Holloway. Together with Coach Holloway they were able to convert a losing program into a team with a 22-5 record over three seasons. In 2012, she took over as head coach of the Warhawks, and surpassed Holloway’s most wins in a fall season by leading Whitewater to a perfect 6-0 season in 2014. After five seasons with the Warhawks, she served as the head of coach of the Vernon girl’s rugby program. Currently, she plays for the Oconomowoc Rugby Football Club. She is a graduate of Waukesha West High School, and she has a degree in social work.
Coach Snooki also started her rugby career at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater as a scrum half playing for Coach Mac. She served as the team’s captain before joining Coach Mac on the sidelines for two seasons. She most recently served as a coach of the Vernon girl’s rugby program. Currently, she plays for the Oconomowoc Rugby Football Club where she is also the president of the women’s side. She is a graduate of Marshfield High School, completed her undergrad in psychology at Whitewater and her masters in psychology at UWM.
Spring rugby is a little different animal than the fall season. First, it is played in the 7s format that is used in the Summer Olympics. Teams will play on roughly the same size field as 15s, but they will only field a team of seven players. This causes the game to run at a faster pace than in the 15s format. Because of this, the game is played in two seven-minute halves.
The team will participate in a few exhibition events this spring, but their focus will be on winning the the Wisco-7s Series. This series takes place on three Saturdays this spring and Hamilton will play multiple games during the day, earning points for the results of those games. Those points are cumulative over all three of the Wisco-7s events. The team that finishes with the most points will win the 7s state championship. Unlike in the fall, there are no playoffs.
Currently there are thirty players on the spring roster, and the team is still actively recruiting new players for the team. Because the team has so many players, they will split into two teams: Hamilton Red and Hamilton Blue. The Hamilton Blue team will be led by Coach Mac and will feature the fastest and most skilled players. The Hamilton Red team will be led by Coach Snooki and will feature developing players or players who don’t naturally have the pace for 7s rugby. That being said, either team can win the state title and Hamilton will have the potential to finish both first and second in state.
Because this is not the official school-sponsored season, Hamilton will practice on the football field at Woodside Elementary. They will practice on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 4:30-6:00pm. Girls may be practicing in the snow, so they should be dressed for the weather. Weather does play a large factor in whether or not the team practices. Athletes are advised to join the team Remind App and parents are advised to keep an eye on the team Twitter and/or Facebook account for cancellations.
For more more on the schedule: click here.
For the spring season, Coach Holloway will serve as the team’s general manager and Coach Vic, Eric, and Otto will serve as assistant coaches.
Hamilton is 3-1-1, historically, in 7s exhibition competitions. Their most notable win was a 12-5 victory over CMH on Grove Field to start the 2018 fall season.
At the time of publication, the United States Men’s and Women’s national 7s teams are ranked first and second in the world, respectively.