Photo: Preparing for history.
It’s two days before she will lead her team into the first-ever state Girls’ Rugby final and Belmont High Head Coach Kate McCabe is not particularly happy.
On Belmont High’s Harris Field, McCabe ordered the three dozen or so girls who were out practicing to perform 10 burpees, a quick penalty for not being ready to restart after a water break.
“You have two and a half hours here to prepare for the game,” said McCabe, a social studies teachers at the school as well as the coach who started the program three years ago with a handful of hopefuls who practiced in the mud as she taught them the game.
“Let’s not waste any time,” she said.
The team then got down to business, running through plays with a focus on tackling and protecting the ball.
McCabe and the squad are taking their undefeated season – three wins and a tie – and strong play with them as they enter the Endicott College football stadium at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 10 to take on rival Algonquin Regional High School for the third time with a state championship trophy as their goal.
The game – played between the two Boys’ title games – is special not just that it’s the first-ever state championship in rugby, it is also the first finals sanctioned by a state high school interscholastic association, a breakthrough that gives the sport a boost towards acceptance by high schools in Massachusetts and in other states.
“It means a lot for the program and I’m really proud for women’s rugby,” said McCabe last month.
For Sara Nelson, one of the first girls to go out for the team three years ago and is now the team’s sole captain, “it’s great that we get to represent the sport in the finals.”