WSU Black Katts' VictoryThe Winona State University Women’s Rugby team, the Black Katts, won the USA Rugby DII College Fall Championship with a 19-10 win over the Colorado School of Mines on Sunday, December 8 in Charlotte, N.C.

After reaching the National Final Four for the ninth consecutive year, WSU advanced to the final after a 42-36 semifinal win over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Saturday, December 7. Colorado School of Mines advanced to the finals after besting 2018 national champion Vassar College 29-15.

The Black Katts’ pulled out in front in the first half, heading into the break with a 19-5 lead. Emily Becker and Annika Culver drove a strong kicking game for the Katts, which proved to be an essential factor to the game.

The win marks the third national championship for the Black Katts’ in the last nine years: 2013, 2016, and now 2019. In 2017, the only year that the Black Katts attempted the sevens version of the game, they also won a national championship.

“We are so happy for the players,” said Roger Riley, the Black Katts’ assistant coach and faculty advisor. “They arrived back at school a week before fall semester began, in order to prepare for a 15-week season. This year they received the ultimate reward for their efforts.”

The fall 2019 season also marked the first year that the Black Katts’ competed with D1 status during the regular season. Taking on teams that have university-wide DI rugby programs in place, such as the University of Minnesota, and finished the season undefeated. As part of the team’s proposal to be given D1 status, the Black Katts competed in the DI Midwest conference during the regular season but returned to DII for the post-season playoffs.


For more information, contact Roger Riley at


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