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Playing Hard, Hitting Harder

Students from all around the mountain area are coming together to play rugby
Penelope Dickinson
The rugby players practice rucking to prepare for in-game situations. Rucking is when players from both teams try to retrieve the ball after someone is tackled with the ball. ”I think it’s going really well. We have a lot of new players, but they’re learning really fast. And we’re getting new people every week that seem to enjoy it,” rugby coach Fred Lehman said.

Conifer, Evergreen, Platte, Summit, and Golden High School come together to play rugby.

Originating at a Rugby school in Warwickshire, England, in 1823, rugby is a full-contact sport similar to football consisting of two teams who are trying to carry or kick the oval-shaped ball into the try zone.

“It’s just the finesse of the game that sets it apart,” freshman Rocoo Venuto said. 

 “I have met a lot of new friends I wouldn’t have without it,” freshman Skylar Knight said. 

The team recently had their first league match on Saturday, March 2nd, against Brighton. They won 40-5.

“It was a great opener for this season, a great way to start off,” coach Fred Lehman said.

There are a lot of new players on the team who don’t have any game-time experience.

“Playing the game is the best way to learn it,” Knight said.

The win against Brighton shows that the team can overcome obstacles with missing their only hooker Vincent Rutter a junior from Confer high school who dislocated his shoulder in a scrimmage earlier in the season.

“This game was good for us and helped us learn since we have to play a harder team in a couple of weeks,” Knight said.

They took home a win at their most recent match against Arvada winning 20-12. 

The rugby players prepare for Saturday’s game by playing a scrimmage. A scrimmage is supposed to simulate how a games’ competition. They won their first game against Brighton on March 2 winning 40-5
“It went really good…Since we had a lot of new guys on our team, it’s really good to give them like a easy team to play at first, so they can learn more,” freshman Skylar Knight said.
(Penelope Dickinson)

According to the World Rugby Organization, there are currently over a quarter of female players in rugby, and since 2017, the number of registered players has increased by 28%. The girls’ program is growing, “slowly but surely,” sophomore Brook Harnisch said, who has been playing for five years. With 11 girls practicing with the boys preparing for their first match on April 6, the team is growing.

¨We only had three girls so we are already doing better,” Harnish said.

These new players are bringing great potential to the team and new opportunities.

“I think it’s changing for the better. I’m very optimistic about this season,” Lehman said.  

Their girls’ program is growing, playing more, and creating a stronger team.

“I think the boys and girls are doing a good job of recruiting and bringing in new players,” Lehman said.

From setbacks from previous years such as losing seniors and injuries these new players are crucial to the team’s success.

“We lost 16 seniors which isn’t good for the team,” Venuto said.

These new players, bring in more practice opportunities and grow the rugby community in the mountain area.

“We have a lot of new players who are learning fast and seem to enjoy it,” Lehman said.

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