WSU wins national title
The Winona State women’s rugby team, the Black Katts, won the USA Rugby DII College Fall Championship with a 19-10 win over the Colorado School of Mines on Sunday, December 8 in Charlotte, N.C.
After reaching the National Final Four for the ninth consecutive year, WSU advanced to the final after a 42-36 semifinal win over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Saturday, December 7. Colorado School of Mines advanced to the finals after besting 2018 national champion Vassar College 29-15.
The Black Katts’ pulled out in front in the first half, heading into the break with a 19-5 lead. Emily Becker and Annika Culver drove a strong kicking game for the Katts, which proved to be an essential factor to the game.
The win marks the third national championship for the Black Katts’ in the last nine years: 2013, 2016, and now 2019. In 2017, the only year that the Black Katts attempted the sevens version of the game, they also won a national championship.
“We are so happy for the players,” said Roger Riley, the Black Katts’ assistant coach and faculty advisor. “They arrived back at school a week before fall semester began, in order to prepare for a 15-week season. This year they received the ultimate reward for their efforts.”
The fall 2019 season also marked the first year that the Black Katts’ competed with D1 status during the regular season. Taking on teams that have university-wide DI rugby programs in place, such as the University of Minnesota, and finished the season undefeated. As part of the team’s proposal to be given D1 status, the Black Katts competed in the DI Midwest conference during the regular season but returned to DII for the post-season playoffs.
Burrow named AP Player of Year
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is The Associated Press college football player of the year in a landslide vote.
Burrow, who has led the top-ranked Tigers to an unbeaten season and their first College Football Playoff appearance, received 51 of 54 first-place votes from AP Top 25 poll voters and a total of 159 points.
Ohio State defensive end Chase Young was second with three first-place votes and 69 points while Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields was third with 43 points. Burrow, Young, Fields and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, who finished fourth with 33 points, are the finalists for the Heisman Trophy to be handed out Saturday in New York.
Burrow is the favorite for the award after passing for 4,715 yards and an Southeastern Conference record 48 touchdowns. The senior transfer from Ohio State is on pace to set a major college record, completing 77.9% of his passes.
The AP player of the year award began in 1998 and only five times has the winner not been the same as the Heisman winner; the last time that happened was in 2015, when Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey won the AP award and Alabama running back Derrick Henry was the Heisman winner.
LSU faces Hurts and No. 4 Oklahoma in the playoff semifinal Dec. 28 at the Peach Bowl. Later that night, Fields and Young and the rest of the Buckeyes will play Clemson in the other semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl.