Women’s rugby team Chippewa Valley Vipers kick-off inaugural season

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 8:14 AM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - The Chippewa Valley Vipers are a fairly new women’s rugby team in the area.

“I got together with a couple former players, a couple of coaches, and I’m like, Why don’t we start a women’s,” Chippewa Valley Vipers president Krystal Moen said.

Love for the game of rugby is what fueled a group of women to rekindle their competitive drive.

“I’ve been coaching for the last three years now with UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout, and I just missed playing like I loved interacting and teaching, but I just miss playing,” Moen said.

After taking a year to lay the foundation, this fall marks the first official season for the Vipers.

“To start the team, we had to become a nonprofit, we had to elect a board of directors or a board and then we had to apply to be part of the union and sign up for tournaments,” Vipers team member Claire Bailey said. “So the previous season had just been kind of getting people interested and getting some workouts in, kind of just getting prepared.”

With this accomplishment, they are only one of a handful of women’s non-collegiate rugby teams in the state and the only one in the area.

“UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire have their club teams,” Moen said. “We definitely wanted to reach out to people that have graduated that are not in college and just, you know, working or pursuing their careers or goals and CVTC as well.”

Before the Vipers, Bailey says there wasn’t anything like the Vipers in Western Wisconsin.

“We really felt like there was a need to kind of build a community, build a place for people to be active and to just have some fun and feel like they belong somewhere,” Bailey said.

Thanks to the Chippewa Falls Parks and Recreation Department and a unanimous decision by the park board, the Vipers found a home field at Casper Park where they hosted their first tournament over the summer.

“It was fantastic,” Bailey said. “We had a great tournament, the weather was nice, and everyone really liked our field. We even had some people from other parts of the state come.”

Whether you’re a seasoned player or looking to try a new sport, all are welcome.

“My first practice, I was very intimidated. I’m not usually the type to try new things and so not being familiar with rugby, I was very intimidated,” Vipers team member Brittney Hakes said. “I got there and everybody was super welcoming and they took time out of their practice to stop and say, Hey, what can I do to help you?”

If you’re thinking about checking out the team, Moen says not to be scared or nervous.

“I want everyone to feel welcome the first time they come and I really hope, regardless of what they decide going forward, that they know that they have a family here as soon as they step on the pitch,” Moen said.

Anyone over the age of 18 or 17 with parental permission can join the Chippewa Valley Vipers.

Outdoor practice will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. through October.

The Vipers are a non-profit and are currently looking for more sponsors.

If you’re interested in learning more and to keep up with the Vipers’ practice schedule, you can visit the team’s Facebook page.