Boys rugby is more experienced than ever

Noah Moon (left) and Bailey Sydenstricker (right) are supported above their teammates as they contest for the throw in at a line out.

In it’s seventh year, the MHS boys rugby program continues to build on its veteran foundation.

“We got a bunch of guys that are fourth and third year players, the most we’ve ever had,” said Head Coach Brian Scerca. “So we’re really looking for our seniors and our juniors to really have a strong impact on this team and lead.”

Scerca expressed interest in seeing what new members such as seniors Keith White, Blake Burkhardt and Joe Krosse, who all have varsity football experience, bring to the team. As well, he said that many freshmen who have joined this year have played throughout the newer middle school program.

With a more experienced team than ever before, the Bees hope to “make a deep push into the playoffs”. In previous years, they made it to the first round of playoffs and one year the team made it to the second round.

“We’ve improved every year (and) the competition’s gotten better,” said Scerca. “Rugby Ohio has grown quite a bit, they’ve changed their divisions up, we’re in a good position, but it’s all what these guys do with it.”

There was an unanimous answer by the team to work to “go all the way” and compete at the state level. For upperclassmen continuing with the program, the dedication is as easy as enjoyment.

“I got recommended by a friend,” said Junior Nathan Cantoni, a third-year member. “It’s a fun game.”

According to Scerca, people are usually apprehensive about joining rugby because they do not know what it’s all about. Also, it is rare that a student who tries it out will say they didn’t like it.

“(It’s like) backwards football,” said Senior Josh Bartoe. “Soccer plus football.”

Another major concern is the likelihood of injury, but Scerca reassured that their primary focuses are always “safety and player welfare”.

“We do a lot of technique and we have far less injuries,” said Scerca. “I played football here at Medina, I had way more injuries playing football than playing rugby.”