GROVE CITY MEN’S RUGBY CLUB FINISHES 4TH IN THE NATION
The Grove City College Men’s team has finished fourth in the recent National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) poll for the season ending December 1st. This ranking coincides with the best season the rugby club has ever had in its 18 year history. This year, the ruggers won their first conference championship over arch rival Franciscan University of Steubenville Barons, last year’s third place finisher in nationals. The Wolverines only loss this season came in a 32-19 setback against the St. John’s University Johnnies of Minnesota, who finished second in the poll. The Wolverines last game was a consolation game against Notre Dame College of Euclid, Ohio in which the Wolverines finished triumphant with a 48-29 victory. The Wolvers overcame a 19-10 halftime deficit to finish the game out.
Dr. Chuck Kriley, advisor of the club and affectionately referred to as DK, recalls at the beginning of the season when the league organizers were thinking about dropping the club down a level: “My expectations were high, but they wanted to put us in the social division. I didn’t want them to be in that division. I knew this team was going to be successful because of the players returning.” DK said there were aspects of the team that he enjoyed and helped them be successful in comparison to the teams of the past: “This team seemed to get along really well on and off the field. This team was an actual team, where even the backups were part of the team, instead of just partitioning off the starters.” DK also feels that this team will help to brighten the future of the team through increased exposure to high school players and hopefully the addition of a coach.
Senior Casey Lamb, co-captain has been on the team since his freshman year. Looking back on his career, Casey said that this is best team he has ever been on: “As a freshman and sophomore, I never got to play so it was hard to feel like part of the team.” This year, Casey had high expectations for the season: “I was excited to see how the team would do. The spring made me really excited, and the new guys coming back were going to be a huge addition. Although, I had no idea how good we actually could be.” Looking back on this season, Casey said that his favorite moment was the first game of the season at Franciscan: “Beating Franciscan on their turf, in their spectacle of the Rugby Ruckus was my favorite memory. It was nice to hand them their first home loss since 2009, and it was the first time we had beaten them in my college career.”
Caleb Mills had this to add about the season: “It was a blessing. Going into the season, I thought we were going to have a really rough season. They combined Division II and III into one bracket. It was very unexpected, and it was a pleasant surprise. I am proud of our team. I had the responsibility of keeping people in check and keep the team focused on the season’s goals.” Caleb is another co-captain on the team and was in charge of keeping the players motivated even after continued success. Caleb also mentioned that the team finished #22 last year, and that the jump came from many different areas: “The team had better chemistry than we have seen in the past. I would attribute the fact to the 16 seniors that have been playing since freshman year. Also, new additions to the team such as senior Mike Barkovich, Jarred Frawley and Sam Grove that joined the year synced well with the rest of the team.” Caleb also mentioned how this team will be the team to which other rugby clubs at the school compare themselves.
Written by Jarred Frawley