Rugby clubs celebrate

50 and 30 year anniversaries

Men’s and women’s club rugby practices together on the 300’s Field. Photo by Dakota Thomas.

Alex Weiss | Staff Writer |

Saint Michael’s College is hosting the first ever anniversary for both the men’s and women’s Rugby clubs on Saturday, Sept. 24 during Alumni Weekend. This season marks the 50-year anniversary for the men’s team, and the 30-year anniversary for the women’s. The 300’s field will host two games: men’s at 11 a.m. and women’s at 1 p.m., followed by a reception from 3-5 p.m. And do not worry, there will be beer and food trucks.

As one of the main organizers, men’s rugby alumnus, class of 1992, Ben Filmore has been around St. Michael’s Rugby for most of his adult life. He played for the club in the late 80s-early 90s, and now he gets to watch his daughter, Olivia Filmore, ’25, play for the women’s team. “The fact that my daughter plays for the women’s team is just icing on the cake,” Filmore said. “I couldn’t be happier or prouder.”

His connection with the team led to involvement and contributions for the clubs, like driving three hours from Middleton, Mass. for most every home and away game to support the clubs. Ben Filmore credited many other people who helped him with organizing the event: Molly Maliska and St. Michael’s Women’s Rugby founder, Lisa Zaferakis.

Filmore said this event emphasizes the importance of tradition. “It goes to show that there is a proud tradition at Saint Mike’s, and rugby’s one of them. One of them that has withstood the test of time,” Filmore said.

With tradition and family emphasized, Olivia Filmore spoke about multiple traditions that both clubs perform. Each rookie is paired up with an older teammate to be mentored throughout the season, writing notes for each other before games, having cookouts after the games, and many more. “When we have home games, usually the boys play before us [women’s team] and we play after them, so they will stay for our game and help,” Olivia Filmore said.

But to Olivia Filmore, tradition and family in the rugby world runs deeper than most. “So far he’s my biggest supporter,” Olivia Filmore said, talking about her father. She had been brought up a Purple Knight, with a supportive alumni father who never forced her decision making.

“One of his famous quotes is ‘My experience will always be much different than yours,’ but at the same time him and all of his friends always say, ‘Saint Michaels is a very special place with special people and a great community,’” Olivia Filmore said.

In addition to the games, the celebration includes a panel with multiple guest speakers, featuring alumni, current players and coaches from all over. It will be held on the 300’s field from 3:45- 5 p.m. Saturday for all of campus to see what St. Michael’s rugby is about. Tickets for the event are $30, and each attendee is given two drink tickets and access to snacks and food, along with food trucks and beer trucks organized by Red Clover Events. This gives the chance for students who are not associated with the sport to learn more about the history and meaning of the club.

However, no matter the celebration, obstacles still exist. This season the women’s rugby coach, Charlie Cisco, who had been with the team since 2001, stepped down from his role, leaving the girls in their own hands. Women’s rugby Team President, Sophia Tedesco ‘24, is optimistic for the future.

“No matter coach or not, our team’s putting everything on the line and we’re putting in the work to be the best we can be. And not having a
coach right now is inspiring and pushing us to be better than we have ever been,” Tedesco said.

Tedesco is not doing this alone, however, as the men’s team has allowed joint practices to help the women’s team until the head coach role is filled. There have been a few prospects for the coaching role, but for now the women’s club will take it day-by-day.

St. Michaels’s rugby is adding new members to their family, and continuing the traditions as the fall season begins. Men’s President, Andy Dexjot 23’, cannot wait to start this new family.

“We play for the memories and the mates. The game is just the tool that brings us together,” Dexjot said.