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Q and A with Ashland University women’s rugby player Melanie Gib

Olmsted Falls native Melanie Gib, with ball, not only is the vice-president of the rugby club at Ashland, she is also the treasurer of the exercise science club. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Gib)

Olmsted Falls native Melanie Gib, with ball, not only is the vice-president of the rugby club at Ashland, she is also the treasurer of the exercise science club. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Gib)

 By Ryan Kaczmarski

Olmsted Falls native Melanie Gib is a member of the Women’s Rugby Club team at  Ashland University. She is in her third year on the team and has been voted in as the vice-president of the rugby club at Ashland. She is a 2009 graduate of St. Joseph Academy in Cleveland and is majoring in exercise science.

Competative sports clubs compete with other university or town-sponsored sports clubs, or teams, and travel to different events throughout the year. Competitive sports clubs are more serious in nature, similar to varsity athletics, and may involve playoff components to conclude their season.

Gib (MG) took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for West Life (WL), and tell us a little about herself and her sport. 

WL: What sports did you play growing up and through high school?
 
MG: Saint Adalbert grade school: Volleyball, softball (cyo champions, 2005) and basketball pretty much from 4-8th grade.
Saint Joseph Academy: Softball for 2 years, rugby for last two (mvp forward)
Ashland University: Rugby – freshman year we won states and got a trophy, was also named rookie of the year(2009)

WL: How many years have you played rugby and what attracted you to the sport?

MG: I have been playing for five years. I got involved in high school when a friend of mine was telling me about the sport. I decided to try out for rugby instead of softball my junior year, and was ecstatic about how I got to tackle people. That was really the selling point for me. In basketball I fouled out most games because I was too aggressive, and in softball I was never able to be aggressive.

WL: What skills from other sports that you have played transfer to the game of rugby? 

   
MG: Speed and hand-eye coordination are really the only skills that I took from softball and basketball.

WL: What position do you play, and what do you bring to your team?

   
MG: My position is called a prop. I am in the scrum. To compare to maybe football, the scrum are the linemen of the team. We are basically the strength of the team. We do most of the heavy lifting (scrum downs, tackling, rucking, mauling). The line is like the offense. They have speed and better agility than the scrum. They run the ball a good portion of the time.
I’m a great tackler and can blow past the opposite team. I have a lot of strength and am surprisingly fast. I was also voted the vice president of the AU women’s club rugby.

WL: As a student athlete, what are the added challenges you have confronted on campus and in the classroom?

     
MG: Trying to juggle school and rugby isn’t that hard. We practice twice a week for two hours and games are Saturday mornings. Since we are a club sport, we don’t practice everyday or have games during the week.
 
WL: What would you tell a young girl, who would potentially want to play rugby, about the sport, as opposed to playing other – more traditional – sports?
 
MG: Pros –Rugby helps with anger and stress  (tackling people helps with that), you can make new friends (we have team dinners after practice and we get together on the weekends, usually after the games, to celebrate or to talk about the game), and you can learn something new. People are really shocked when you tell them that you play rugby. Most people don’t know the game exactly, but have heard enough about it to be scared, so that’s always a bonus.
Cons – Sometimes you get hurt; bruises and cuts are not uncommon. Last year, I hurt my knee in a maul, and ended up bruising my bone. I’m back in the game this semester, and I am hoping that things run smoothly.

WL: What is your opinion on your team staying a club team, as opposed to becoming a varsity collegiate team?

 
MG: I like it as a club sport. It’s more laid back than varsity sports. We coach ourselves, whichI think puts pressure off of the new girls because I think they feel more comfortable learning from girls their own age.
 
I’d also like to say that my coaches in high school were absolutely amazing. They are players for the Iron Maidens, which is the semiprofessional Cleveland women’s rugby team. If it weren’t for them pushing me as hard as they did, and teaching me the way they did I don’t think I would have been as successful with rugby as I am. I am not sure if they’d be comfortable with me giving you their names, but they are a big reason why I love rugby so much.

 

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