The Palmer College of Chiropractic Rugby Football Club (men’s and women’s teams) and the Old Blue Women’s Sevens Team in New York, N.Y., have teamed up to help each other, and the USA, move the women’s game in America forward.
“We’re partnering by offering player and coaching exchanges that will lead to better competition and higher education opportunities to elite women rugby players,” said Palmer Rugby Football Club Coach Joe Lippert. “We’re also looking forward to developing our current players further in partnership with Old Blue and their rich history rich program.”
Palmer College of Chiropractic, founded in 1897 by D.D. Palmer, is the oldest and largest chiropractic college in the world. Dr. David D. Palmer, grandson of D.D. Palmer, started Palmer’s rugby program in 1960, which has become progressively more competitive over the years. The men’s and women’s teams are both members of USA Rugby, with the men playing in Division I and the women in Division II. The Palmer men’s team has advanced to the USA Rugby Final Four championship three times in recent years, finishing fourth in 2010, third in 2011 and third in 2012.
Old Blue is a rugby club based in New York City. The club has been an East Coast powerhouse since its founding in 1963, most recently competing in men’s ARP and DII divisions. Old Blue founded its women’s sevens program in 2014, and both that team, which had an average age of 21 years old; and the Old Blue Men’s sevens team were both 2014 USA Rugby Sevens Championship finalists in Seattle.
Palmer already has plans to travel to NYC from Iowa later this month to practice and play with Old Blue. A USA national team coach will also be present that week as a guest coach. Among the Palmer visitors to the Big Apple will be a former Old Blue player who will be beginning her post undergraduate education at Palmer this summer.
“Palmer was an easy choice for us,” said Old Blue Coach Gary Lee Heavner, “both clubs share the same mentality when it comes to women’s rugby – that is – to advance women’s rugby in America, women must have an equal playing field, they can no longer be treated as inferiors to men’s teams. That means equal facilities, equal coaching, equal budgets and budgets equal competitive opportunity. That’s what both clubs offer our female players.”