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Allison Mueller/ Winonan
Winona State University’s women’s rugby team snagged its seventh consecutive Minnesota Division Two Collegiate Rugby Championship Saturday against the University of Minnesota Duluth to end Northern Lights conference play.
The Black Katts, now ranked the No. 1 seed out of Minnesota, delivered a 100-0 victory over Duluth in front of a sideline packed with fans over homecoming weekend.
After a string of away games for the Black Katts, senior hooker Sydney Norman said playing in front of a large crowd at home provided great encouragement and support for the Black Katts.
Norman said, “It’s a different kind of pressure playing at home in front of your friends versus playing in front of strangers at your opponents field.”
Head coach Josh Krzewinski said Duluth (now 4-2-1 in the Northern Lights conference) has had a successful program over the years and, even though the Black Katts had beaten them handedly in the past, is a team that should not be underestimated.
Krzewinski said, “As a team, Duluth is talented and has some athletes. They are in the top three in our conference, and I expect[ed] them to come down and give us a run.”
In order to maintain their undefeated season, Krzewinski said the Black Katts needed to implement the “three P’s” of rugby that he had preached to the team in the week leading up to the match: pace, possession and pressure.
Prior to the game Krzewinski said, “We need to create turnovers by forcing Duluth to do things faster than they want to because of our rush defense, but also counter ruck or steal their ball at the tackle point.”
Winona State controlled the ball from the opening whistle. The first half saw three tries from Lanoira Duhart, two from Andrea White and one from Amanda Custode, Nadia Nassif and Georgia Porter. Conversions from flyhalf Katie Dries rounded out the Black Katt’s lead 48-0 at the end of the first half.
The Black Katts took control of the last half from the blow of the whistle once again as the ball quickly moved its way down the field and into Nassif’s hands. She passed off to freshman wing Megan Wolff for a try.
In addition, Duhart posted two tries in the second half along with tries from Ashley Pomeroy, Madison Skalecki, Hanah Demars, Wolff and Nassif. Conversions from Rachel Thompson and Dries gave the Black Katts the 100-0 win over Duluth.
Norman said Black Katt players have been setting goals individually throughout the season to drive the team’s improvement each week. Lately she said she has been focusing on defense, gaining depth on offense and communicating well on the field.
“I think that setting goals like this really helps us focus and gives us something to work on at practice,” Norman said. “It’s been nice to see that pay off.”
The Black Katts ended Northern Lights conference play with a record 7-0, followed by University of Minnesota, Mankato (6-1) and Gustavus Adolphus College (4-2-1).
The Black Katts have earned a home playoff game on Saturday, Nov. 8 against the No. 2 seed out of Wisconsin in the national round of 32. Krzewinski said early calculations are leading toward the Black Katts to host the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
If Winona State secures this win it will travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa to compete in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 playoff rounds Nov. 15 and 16.
Elizabeth Pulanco/ Winonan
A part of the celebration for homecoming, Winona State University invited Comedian Heath Hyche for “The Heath Show,” a comedy show sponsored by University Programming Activities Committee (UPAC).
Hyche started the show by telling the audience to forget everything they knew and thought about comedy. This was Hyche’s method of telling everyone that his type of comedy was going to be unique.
Throughout the night, Hyche introduced the audience to various characters who played a large part in the show. A popular character who Hyche introduced was “Dale,” who was the caricature of a redneck. As a southerner himself, Hyche said he has met people like “Dale” in real life. Equipped with fake teeth and camouflage, “Dale” was met with laughs and applause from the audience.
One element of the show that seemed to be the most noticeable was the unlimited amount of energy Hyche had while performing. Sophomore and audience member Izla Fishle agreed.
“During the show, he was very energetic,” Fishler said. “I also really liked the cool costume changes”.
Each character required a new costume, and, after each character, Hyche would run behind a black divider to change for his next persona. Hyche was able to change his appearance within seconds.
Another element to the show was Hyche’s ability to creatively incorporate music and technology into his performance. For the technology, he was able to employ the use of a projection screen to add a background or introduce a new character or sketch coming up.
Along with the numerous characters, Hyche showed off his talent of doing impersonations. In a sketch that poked fun of Discovery Channel documentaries, Hyche did an impersonation of a wildebeest. Unexpectedly, the biggest laughs in the sketch came after the ear fell off of his prop. Once Hyche taped the ear back on, he continued with the skit and made it to the punch line.
Hyche also had an Elvis impersonator up his sleeve.
As a conclusion to the show, Hyche sent the audience off with an impression of actor Matthew McConaughey. He started the imitation with the actors famous saying “alright, alright, alright” and kicked it up a notch when he decided to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ in the actor’s slow southern drawl.
Sophomore Taylor Larson, who went to the show with a group of friends, thought it was her favorite part of the night.
“I loved the Matthew McConaughey impression,” Larson said.
All throughout the night, Hyche would ask the audience to use their imagination. This helped the audience find humor in the most ridiculous characters Hyche would present.