The Screaming Minks: W&L’s best kept secret?

W&L’s club rugby team could be the unsung hero of the school’s sports scene. The Minks placed third nationally last year. This year, led by a seasoned senior class, they hope to take home the national title


Minks captain Mitchell Brister, ‘16, center, said that he hopes to see more of the student body present at the team’s home games. Photo courtesy of The Screaming Minks’ Facebook page.

Kenta Sayama

While the world is excited to watch the Rugby World Cup that has begun in England, the Screaming Minks of Washington and Lee are more interested in their own season.

Commonly known as just the “Minks,” W&L’s club rugby team plays in the Division III Cardinal Collegiate Rugby Conference.  The Minks won their conference and regional meet last year, and came in third place in the National Small College Rugby Organization National Championships. This year, however, they are aiming higher.

“I think after our success on the national stage last year, we have a bit more confidence starting off the season,” Chase Flowers, ‘18, said. “As a team, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that I hope we can make a run for a national title.”

Perhaps no Minks player wants to take home a national title more than captain Mitchell Brister, ‘16, a senior playing in his final season for the team.

“When I first came, the team had almost no respect on campus,” Brister said. “My class came in, and we made our goal to not only get better on the field, but also to get more respect on campus. It has been my goal to win nationals from when I was a freshman, and I think we have the talent to do that this year.”

The Minks have 10 first-year players who are all contributing right away. The team has also added law school student Matthew Dempsey to its roster. Dempsey is an Irish native who, according to Brister, is an excellent “fly half,” or the equivalent to a quarterback in American football.

“He is a huge, huge addition to the team this year,” Brister said.

The Minks currently hold a 1-1 record for this season. Their first home game is on Oct. 3 against Christopher Newport.

“It definitely helps our players to see fans on the sidelines, so I hope to see a lot of students at our matches,” Head Coach John Welsh said. “I also encourage anyone who would like to play by coming to a practice to see if the sport is right for them.”