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Women’s rugby joins Ravens varsity teams

The women's rugby team at Carleton becomes the school's 10th varsity sport in 2012, will play in the RSEQ.

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By Carleton Ravens Sports Information

Ravens women’s rugby head coach Denis Blondin’s photo will move from the competitive club area up to the varsity coaches inside the Ravens Nest for next season. File photo.

Carleton University’s department of recreation and athletics is pleased to announce that Ravens women’s rugby will become the school’s 10th varsity sport commencing in the 2012-13 season.

The Ravens will compete in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) against six other universities – Bishop’s, Concordia, Laval, McGill, Ottawa and Sherbrooke.

“We are very excited to be offering another women’s varsity sport at Carleton,” says Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s director of recreation and athletics. “This would not have been possible without the return of football and the strong partnership between the athletics department and the Old Crows.”

From the initial talks about the return of football, the Old Crows have supported a new Ravens women’s varsity sport.

“I’m delighted to see that additional students will be combining academics and varsity sports as part of their university experience at Carleton,” says John Ruddy, president of Old Crows Football Inc.

After three seasons of coaching the Ravens as a competitive club, head coach Denis Blondin is looking forward to the chance to lead a varsity team.

“It’s a tremendous honour for our team to be able to represent Carleton University in Canadian Interuniversity Sport competition,” Blondin says. “It’s a rare opportunity that not many teams are given and we are very thankful to the department of athletics and the athletics board. We’d like to especially acknowledge the important contribution of the Old Crows football alumni. Without their support none of this would be possible.”

The coaching staff has been pushing for a “varsity” feel with the program for the past two season to ensure they were prepared if an opportunity came up. With this lead-in and a strong emphasis on combing the country for the right players, Blondin says he has no doubt the program will be highly competitive, a sentiment echoed by John Bower, director of university programs with the RSEQ.

“Carleton is one of Canada’s premier destinations for student-athletes and we are confident that the presence of the Ravens will enhance the quality of competition in what is already one of the top women’s rugby leagues in the nation,” says Bower.

With a new varsity program, Blondin says student-athletes who had not previously shown interest in Carleton might consider attending the university.

“A varsity program gives players the opportunity to compete at the highest level and in turn will attract high-level athletes looking to push their limits,” he says. “Our rugby program has a long history and we believe that we’re building a reputation of excellence in both academics and athletics, which will attract student-athletes who are aspiring to reach that standard.”

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