April 7, 2011 at 9:55 a.m.
But, that hasn't stopped Head Coach Tony Randall from making them jump from Tier 2 to Tier 1 in the Minnesota rugby scene.
The tiers are similar to classes in varsity sports. Tier 2 would essentially be the Class A of rugby and Tier 1 is Class AA, for bigger and more talented schools.
Randall decided to make the jump for a few reasons. The first and foremost reason was the vast difference in competition. His squad last year was decimating Tier 2 teams. Even the Spartan B squad was handily beating most of the Tier 2 teams that the Spartans played.
"That wasn't doing much good for anyone," Randall said of the frequent blowouts.
Despite their impressive regular season in Tier 2, the team didn't get a shot at the Tier 2 state championship because one of the Tier 1 teams was missing from the rugby state tournament, and the Spartans stepped up to challenge the Tier 1 teams in the tourney.
Although they lost to Minneapolis South in the first round, they kept the match competitive, and it was a sign that Chisago Lakes belonged with the big shots of Minnesota rugby.
Another factor that led to the Spartans moving up is the fact that this year's team features 11 seniors, which is more than the previous two teams combined. Besides just the massive amount of seniors, Randall finally has a lot of girls with a few years of rugby experience.
Randall had a few tidbits about some of the experienced members of the team and what they bring to the table:
Marissa Alliegro - Speedy and shifty third year Wing, second team all state in 2010.
Liz Barrett - Stout experienced prop, played State Select Side(All-Star team) in 2010
Hannah Barrett - Second year Back with experience at multiple back positions.
Dana Bentfield (senior) - Third year Flanker or Wing Forward, dedicated and solid player.
Tessa and Reba Berg - Second year players, interchangeable players in the back line with experience at the Fullback position.
Ashley Caudill (senior) - Third year player at Inside Center, very dependable and smart, does not make big costly mistakes.
Abby Collins - Third year bookend at Wing, good speed and great motor.
Cassie Day - Second year prop, very dedicated.
Mickey DelGuidice - Second year Wing that should emerge as an upper tier player, great speed and vision.
Abby Everson - Third year second row, best mauler on the team and one of the strongest players.
Courtney Fox(senior) - Third year Hooker.
Amber Johnson - Second year Eight(wo)man, very athletic
Alex Kantorowicz(senior) - Third year prop, extremely strong and an excellent kicker, very dependable, definitely an upper tier player, always smiling.
Kayla Mohs(senior) - Third year Flanker/Wing Forward, very capable of playing multiple positions.
Leah Nelson(senior) - Third year Eight(wo)man, second team all state in 2011, speedy runner who can separate from the defense, and finds space very well.
Coco Parks - Third year second row, a force on offense and defense, 1st team All State in 2009.
Lindsay Peulen - Second year Hooker, an emerging player.
Anna Stein(senior) - Third year Flyhalf, very dedicated and dependable intelligent player.
Maddy Stein(senior) - Second year second row, very physical player that does not shy away from contact.
Courtney Stene(senior) - Third year Outside Center, very dedicated and dependable.
Acadia Stephan - Second year Flanker/Wing Forward.
Danielle Whitman - Third year second row, a force in the scrum and loose play, great thrower in line outs.
Lisa Spehar(senior) - Third year Scrumhalf, missed last season due to injury, will need to carry the responsibility of running the offense, great leader.
Kayla Fox - First year Forward, will be a fast learner.
Cally Johnson - First year Forward.
Kourtney Critelli(senior) - First year back, will be a contributor this season.
The Spartans open their season with a very intriguing game next Wednesday, April 13.
They square off against last year's Tier 2 champion Mounds View, which also made the jump to Tier 1 this year.
In the regular season, both the A and B teams for Chisago Lakes beat the Mounds View team, but without the Spartans in the Tier 2 state tournament, the team from Mounds View ran it all the way to the title.
The game represents both team's opening match of the year, and both have a lot at stake.
The Spartans' are hoping to show they would have been the Tier 2 champions last year if not for the jump, and Mounds View trying to validate their title against their biggest competitor.
To make things even bigger for the Spartans the game is being played at the football field in Chisago Lakes, the first, and only game for the girls on the turf field this year.
The stage has been set for one of the biggest matches in Chisago Lakes' three-year rugby history, now it just depends on which team takes advantage of the huge opportunity in front of them.
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