Fourteen years ago, a small, determined group of females worked tirelessly to recreate a women's rugby club at Indiana University. They called themselves, Redstorm Rugby. They built their team around the principles of fun, friendship, and tackling hard. The girls learned the game from reading manuals given to them by the IU men's team and any other rugby literature they could get their hands on. The small squad began playing against other college teams during that fall of 1996.
In 2000, the girls asked the faculty sponsor of the men's club, who had been in charge of that program since the mid-1980s, to be the women's club advisor as well. He brought the girls more focus at select practices and better guidance during the games he attended. Still, the team was competing at the most nominal level of college play.
Nevertheless, the team stayed strong. Every season more girls joined the team and the level of play began to increase. Many girls who had played in high school came to the club along with other stellar athletes who wanted to try something new and fun.
Then, in the fall of 2006, everything clicked. With the addition of two full time coaches, the Indiana University Women's Club placed first in the Indiana Area Union and went on to compete in the Midwest DII Qualifiers for nationals. In, the previous year, they had not even been invited to the regional dance and in 2006, they were favored to win the number one spot in the Midwest. Unfortunately, their season ended with a heartbreaking loss to Iowa State University.
Not all hope was lost, however. In spring of 2007, the team placed first at one of the biggest rugby tournaments in the US, beating the defending champions and DI team: UCONN. This has never been done in the club's ten year history. Now armed with determination and perseverance, Redstorm is ready to do what it takes to make it to Nationals this following year.
The following season, fall of 2007 was an amazing season for Indiana University Women's Rugby. Redstorm Rugby won every game and qualified in the DI Midwest Tournament all the way in Iowa. This tournament would determine whether or not they would advance to Nationals the following spring to have the chance to win Nationals. Indiana University Women's Club won their first game against Purdue and then had to play against University of Iowa in order to win Midwest and fly to New Mexico for Nationals. The women of Indiana University rugby proved their place as a top team and put up an astonishing fight and beat University of Iowa after the game had been tied right up until the last few minutes.
Spring of 2008 has been one of the most significant seasons for Indiana University Women's Rugby. The women had finally qualified to make it to New Mexico to compete for the number one title and play the best of the best from all around the country. Their first game was against Chico State, a team who was ranked 7 in the nation. The women of Indiana University fought hard, but unfortunately lost their first game at Nationals. In order to move up rankings for next year, the team still had to win their second game versus University of Florida. The team held their own and won the game and is now placed in a higher seed for Nationals 2009.
Fall 2008 & Spring 2009 proved to be another successful season for the Redstorm rugby team. The women worked hard and had a perfect fall record. Allowing Indiana University to advance to Nationals in Florida come Spring 2009. Nationals proved to be a challenge for the team although it was a great learning experience to play against the best.
The team came back ready to advance their skills in Fall 2009 and Spring 2010. Fall 2009 seemed to be a building season for the young players. The first half of the season the team was faced with many obstacles. Although it was a rough patch for the team, they continued to work hard at every practice and at every game. Towards the end of the season, the women came together as a team and started to build a promising reputation for themselves. While the team did not make it to Nationals, the Spring semester was filled with many exciting tournaments. Redstorm took second place in the Saint Patty's Day Tournament in Savannah, GA. As well as receiving second place in Mardi Gras tournament in Louisiana and second place at Nashbash tournament in Nashville, TN.
Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 had many ups and downs. Redstorm Rugby had an incredible Fall season resulting in only two losses - one being against the number one team in the nation, Penn State. With the success of the season, Indiana University Women's Rugby Club qualified to compete in the Midwest Final Four Tournament. Playing a hard fought battle, Redstorm took fourth and looked forward to growing through a new season. Following the bitter ending to an amazing season, Redstorm placed second in the Saint Patty's Day tournament in Savannah, GA for the second year in a row. The rest of Spring followed in suite to be a successful growing experience for these ruggers.
After losing a handful of seniors to graduation, Redstorm stepped up against misconceptions of Fall 2011. At the beginning of the year, Redstorm generated a little buzz around town and recruited 70% of its current team members. With a handful of players being mostly new to the sport, the year started out rough with losses in the Ruggapalooza tournament, but each team member fought through adversity throughout the season and ended with a 3 win, 3 loss league record - with one win being against the current Midwest champions. Soon after the league season ended, Redstorm was presented a new opportunity to play; in the game of sevens. 12 ladies practiced day in and out to learn about the game of sevens for the short two week span they had. In December, they traveled to College Station, TX to compete in the very first collegiate 7s national tournament. They fared well and exceeded in learning the game compared to the expected. We only have yet to see the great capabilities of these young ladies.
2012 was a very sucessful season for the Redstorm ruggers. While going undefeated in their conference, the newly created Big10, the team was presented with great shot at heading to Nationals, again.