Queens run close in exhibition

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New Mexico Tech’s Queens Rugby Cub participated in an unusual sporting event on the New Mexico State University campus Saturday. Prom dress rugby was the theme as 7-member teams from Tech, NMSU, and the University of Texas at El Paso donned formal wear (and rugby boots) to scrum down in a lighthearted round robin competition. The host club emerged victorious with wins over the Queens and UTEP’s Desert Dames while Tech lost in the final minute to a UTEP side reinforced with NMSU players.

Courtesy Danielle Abode/NM Tech: NMT Queens’ Cassie Coleman looks for the ball while Phoebe Nicholls (in black) drives in a scrum during the Prom rugby competition in Las Cruces Saturday.

New Mexico Tech’s Queens Rugby Cub participated in an unusual sporting event on the New Mexico State University campus Saturday. Prom dress rugby was the theme as 7-member teams from Tech, NMSU, and the University of Texas at El Paso donned formal wear (and rugby boots) to scrum down in a lighthearted round robin competition. The host club emerged victorious with wins over the Queens and UTEP’s Desert Dames while Tech lost in the final minute to a UTEP side reinforced with NMSU players.

Queens president and scrum half Cassie Coleman was voted player of the day by her teammates and first-season player Bridgette Aragon received honorable mention. The Queens roster also included Nicole Gayer, Willie Desir, Tonya Ross, Tiffany Luterbach and Phoebe Nicholls.

NMSU shut out the Queens in their first match, 23-0. The Lady Chiles chose Queens center Willie Desir as their choice for outstanding opponent honors.

In Tech’s second game, Cassie Coleman scored Tech’s first try against UTEP by scooping up a loose ball, sidestepping one defender and outrunning the rest of the defense. Tech went ahead 12-10 late in the match, after Tonya Ross broke through the defense and passed the ball back. The ball came awkwardly to Nicole Gayer who elected to kick it forward rather than risk dropping it. The tactic paid off as Gayer was able to re-gather the ball and dive over the line in the arms of a tackler. But Queens hopes were dashed less than a minute later when the Desert Dames managed a last-gasp try to snatch a 17-12 win. UTEP named Nicole Gayer as their outstanding opponent.

The Queens play host to Red Mountain Rugby Club this Saturday in the second half of a doubleheader also featuring Tech’s men’s team. The Pygmies kick off against Santa Fe’s Santos at 1:00 p.m. with the women’s game scheduled for approximately 3 p.m.