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On the heels of national title, Bonaventure women moving up to Division I in rugby

Dec 16, 2023

Meredith Pyke believes that the time has come.  

The coach of St. Bonaventure’s national champion women’s rugby team realizes winning is the ultimate goal, but pummeling teams by insanely lopsided scores doesn’t do much to enhance the program, or the competitive college athlete experience.

So, the small-college champion Bonnies are moving up to NCR Division I in 2024.

SBU will continue to belong to the Upstate New York Collegiate Rugby Conference and will remain under the umbrella of National Collegiate Rugby.  The fall schedule will include matchups against schools such as Kent State, Pitt and Notre Dame College.

“From my first day with the Bonnies the goal has been for St. Bonaventure to become a rugby school and not just on the men’s side,” Pyke said.  “The women have been dedicated to growing the program and the general consensus is that we are ready for the challenge of moving up to Division I.

“The athletes are eager for the competitive D-I landscape, are committed to putting in the work, and look forward to continue representing St. Bonaventure on the national stage. In fall 2022, the team first challenged themselves to win championship rings, which we were able to accomplish in just two years. Imagine what we can accomplish in two more!”

Bonnies outscored their opponents, 402-5, in the regular season this fall and only had one close match in the four games they played to reach the national final four in Houston Dec. 2-3 — a 32-22 win in the UNYCRC title game vs. Cortland, which also reached the final four as an at-large team.

SBU (12-0) defeated top-ranked Endicott, 22-10, and Wisconsin-Platteville, 22-17, in Houston to win the national title.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. Out of 167 regional universities in the North, St. Bonaventure was ranked #6 for value and #14 for innovation by U.S. News and World Report (2024).