The Keene State women’s rugby club will continue their season as they carry on to New England Regionals.

The women’s rugby club has been a part of the Keene community for almost thirty years, and after a season of hard work and passion, they will be carrying their season on to the next chapter for the first time ever.

A player who has been waiting for this opportunity is senior captain Katelyn Conlon.

Lauren Futtner/ Contributed photo

Lauren Futtner/ Contributed photo

When Conlon was asked what it took for the team to get to nationals, she gave a huge smile and replied, “Hard work.

The team has given great effort and has been there every day, giving their all and support among each teammate. We are very determined this year after last year’s loss in the playoffs.”

She continued, “As a senior captain, I believe when regionals comes around, playing with fire will be our key. The chemistry from last year was felt by the team, coaching staff and spectators in our last game. We fought ‘till the end, but we ended up coming short. With that being said, having fire and passion will give the team confidence as we move into regionals.”

Conlon has played rugby through most of her college career and appreciates not only the program, but the support from other clubs on campus congratulating them on making it to regionals.

This year, the team has shown another side of their  passion, which is respect on the field against competitors.

Another senior captain is Keanna Winter who said, “As a captain, I have a lot to work toward with other captains and teammates. We’ve accomplished a lot this season, but a huge accomplishment was coming back after last year and making it to regionals.”

Through the team’s hard work and accomplishments, senior Ian McMahon, a men’s rugby club player, took his approach on why he felt the women’s rugby club should be recognized and proud of the season they’re having.

“I would love to see them win, but also continue with the numbers they’re having, the progression of more players, an overall bigger rugby program and the visible determination the girls have had all year,” McMahon said.

When asked about his thoughts on what regionals means to not only women’s rugby, but the rugby program as a whole, he said, “Rugby is a sport that should be noticed in the community more, and by the girls making it to regionals, it goes to show the love for the sport and the program. We approach people like any other club on campus does, which is support and an open hand to welcoming new people into the program.”

As a player on any team, they understand the ways of the game and adjust to them as time goes on, but having a game plan and what the next step is becomes a coach’s decision.

The women’s rugby club Coach Karen Johannesen said she has seen many positive aspects on the field.

When asked what she has seen from not only the girl’s aspect, but what she’s seen in herself as a coach, she said, “I have seen a lot of heart with a solid core of group of kids. Even when our numbers were down, the girls were still here showing heart and ready to work hard day in and day out.”

When Johannesen was asked about her thoughts on what respect means, she answered with, “It’s one of our strengths, and we have been known for that for years.”

She continued, “Whether it be a team’s ability, good or bad, the girls show the utmost respect and sportsmanship. It’s a feather in our cap that we can keep our cool even when teams are getting a little chippie.”

In the upcoming regional game, Johannesen said, “I would like to see the girls show some more feistiness and take the game and win. Our playoff game last year that eliminated us was taken with a drive to win and I’d like to see that again in regionals.”

The Keene State women’s rugby team will continue their journey in the regional tournament as they could possibly face several teams from all over New England.

The team will be notified as regionals come closer, but as of now the opponent is to be determined.

Travis Thuotte can be contacted at

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