Rugby arrives in Deer River

by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer

The game of rugby has arrived in Deer River and there is almost a full team playing this sport and hoping to gain more players and have competitive games.

As it is not yet a sanctioned high school sport, it is being presented by the Deer River Community Education in its inaugural year.

The team even has a name. They are called the Predators Women’s Rugby Club Deer River. They are coached by Deer River High School science teacher Jerry Snow, who is the Minnesota Youth Rugby Development Coordinator.

Lisa Polchow has been selected to serve as the parent leader/manager for the Predators Women’s Rugby Club and Lela Dopp and Alex Polchow are the team co-captains.

“Congratulations to them,” said Snow. “We are grateful for their dedication to the club and the game.”

Alex shared some information on how she became interested in the sport of rugby and how she was instrumental in getting it started.

She said, “I never thought I would find a sport that I would enjoy or be able to do. I saw myself as a non-athletic person, but finding rugby made me more active than I’ve ever been.

“I first heard about rugby from my ninth grade science teacher, Mr. Snow. He has been coaching women’s rugby at Bemidji State University since 2012, and became a nationally certified Rugby coach in 2014.

“During our science class, he would talk about his intense love for rugby; showing us videos of other professional teams, discussing the basics of rugby and showing us photos of his own rugby team.

“During one of the last days of school, Mr. Snow took us outside for a fun-day and we wound up playing rugby. It was the most fun I ever had!

“After class was over, myself and a few friends were buzzing with excitement, and came up with a plan to make our own rugby team.

“We walked the halls asking kids if there was a Rugby team, would they join.

We showed Mr. Snow the petition and asked him to be our coach. Without hesitation, he agreed.”

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