Vikings U-20 Action

Story by Coach Paul Horne

Saturday, November 9, 2013, was a  good Rugby Day.

WWU travelled across the 49th parallel to meet the Capilano U20’s half way for a match at Bayside RFC home field. It was great to play on a full size international, real grass field. The players also commented on how much they enjoyed playing on something other than artificial turf.

The first half was fairly even match but the score board indicated a different story. The Caps took full advantage of our inability to make first up tackles.  Caps scored three trys that were a direct result of missed tackles and took a comfortable halftime lead 21-0.

The Vikings came storming back scoring three quick trys to even the score at 21 each.  With scrummaging superiority, #8 Nate Muir (Earl Marriott Secondary, BC) picked up at the base of the set and made a powerful run breaking numerous tackles before off loading to Max Wright (Shorewood HS) for a beautiful try.  This proved to be a game changer.

Mike Peckham (Kelso HS) also added a try after some good work on the Caps goaline.

Nick Bonovich (Dixon HS,Ca) followed up with a try after making a great line break and touched down between the posts.

Ryan Glendenning (Budd Bay RFC) converted all three.  Score was now 21-21.

Spencer Stephenson (Roosevelt HS, Seattle) and Wu Bene (Kings HS)) added trys to give WWU the lead with only three minutes to play.

Just as it appeared WWU was going to go home with a victory, Caps stole our put in and scored to tie the game. Their conversion from the touchline was just short and the game ended in a tie, 31-31.  All in all a fair result.

Lots of positives on the day in that we had lost 47-5 to this team a month ago.

Go Vikings!

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Vikings ‘Battle In The Bay’ 7′s Team

2013 BITB Team

Back (l to r): M Wright, N Muir, J Romano, L Henson, J Kaimmer, R Glendenning, K Duchnycz
Front (l to r): N Solimano, R Lilla, S Hobbs, N Bonovich, O Dougherty

Well, the 7′s season is over for Western.  It was a great season for the boys and Coach Adam Roberts in that they knew going in they were not going to be as strong as last year’s National Championship participant team simply because they had lost eight players from the previous year’s team.  The boys started the year the weekend after classes started at WWU by hosting the first-ever Viking 7′s on campus here in Bellingham….then off to the Oregon State 7′s in Corvallis…then NCRC Championships at Western Oregon in Monmouth, OR…and finally to the Battle In The Bay 7′s, hosted by St. Mary’s College, on Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

In each of those tournaments they played in they got better than the previous week’s results and, in most cases, better than the previous match’s result.  They learned a bunch about 7′s, they grew as a team, and came together as teammates.  Especially on that long drive to and from the Bay area and enjoying the fabulous hospitality at the Romano family’s fabulous casa in Santa Rosa.  Next year’s 7′s team has the potential to be one of the better ones we’ve had here at Western.

With no thoughts of applying for an “at-large” bid to the Nationals back in Greensboro, NC, November 23-24, 2013, they are now busy preparing for their Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference (NCRC) 15′s season opener, November 23rd, in Seattle, against the University of Washington.  And while the 7′s team was off romping around the countryside, the boys left behind were playing 15′s…and what a schedule they had!  Competing in the BC U-20 league and other non-conference foes, the 15′s struggled early against difficult opposition.  Coach Paul Horne was trying to integrate a bunch of new people into the lineup, get a look at returning players, all while giving several first time players some playing time.  And irrespective of being a new or returning player, Horne was especially interested in seeing who had put in the extra work over the summer. The Vikings had two matches scheduled for this weekend against BC U-20 teams but both of those teams had to cancel so the team will be playing and intra-squad match on Saturday at Western.  Coach Horne commented that the return of the 7′s team players back to the squad has totally changed the team dynamic and that the coaches are going to have some difficult decisions to make regarding team selection.

So the team will play the UW on the 23rd in Seattle, and then take a ‘holiday break’ and resume their NCRC schedule January 25, 2014 against the University of Oregon in Bellingham on the turf field next to the Wade King Rec Center.

We hope to see you in Seattle on the 23rd, we’ve been contacted by a large number of WWU Rugby alums and the match is looking like it will be a pretty good sized reunion.  Hope to see you there…

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Vikings 4th At “Battle In The Bay”

BITB 1

from l to r:  Jon Kaimmer (on the ground), Louie Henson, Nick Bonovich, and Ryan Glendenning in the match against UC – Santa Barbara

There were several images that will stick in my mind from last weekend’s “Battle In The Bay” 7′s Tournament held on Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

First of all, the tournament, put on by St. Mary’s College, was an incredible event and the St. Mary’s coaches, staff, and players are to be congratulated for the amazing job they did in putting this thing together and seeing that it all ran smoothly and came off without a hitch.

Second, when you looked at the list of the sixteen teams attending and you couldn’t help but be impressed with the talent assembled.  The no. 1 ranked 7′s team in the country, the UCLA Bruins, were there.  As was the no. 2 ranked team, the California Golden Bears, the no. 5 ranked team, Central Washington, and the no.7 ranked team, St. Mary’s.  There were four pools and each of these teams were the no. 1 seeds in each of these pools.  The no. 2 seeds in each of the pools were no slouches either.  We had Cal Poly – San Luis Obisbo, another PAC 12 power in Arizona State, San Diego State, and your Western Washington University Vikings.  And amongst the remaining eight teams were teams like UC – Santa Barbara, Stanford, Santa Clara University, UC – Davis, and the University of San Diego.

Third, this was a two day tournament and the first day was a war…  Teams were positioning to get out of pool play with either a 1st or 2nd seed so that they could advance to the top tier “Cup” match-ups on Sunday, day 2.  Miss on either of the top two spots in the pools and you were playing in the consolation rounds.

In addition, each team originally was going to only be allowed to bring twelve players, then it changed to fifteen players, and finally, the tournament committee relented to some pressure and let each team bring as many players as they wanted.  Each team could still only use up to twelve players in each match but the ‘open’ roster gave some teams much greater flexibility in case of injury.  Cal showed up with 40 players and quite a few other teams had 20 or more players.  Western brought twelve players…

In pools A, B, and D things went pretty much according to form, Cal was the one seed from A with San Diego State being the second seed.  St. Marys was the number one seed in pool B and WWU was the 2nd seed.  In pool D, Central Washington was the one seed and Arizona State was the second seed.

In pool C everything was turned upside down.  The one seed going in, UCLA, couldn’t hold serve and three teams ended up with identical 2-1 records.  UCLA, Cal Poly, and Santa Clara had 2-1 records and the seeds would be determined by the tie breaker and bonus point system the tournament committee had in place…and when the smoke had cleared, Santa Clara came out on top, Cal Poly was second, and amazingly, the no. 1 ranked team in the country, UCLA, ended up third.

In UCLA’s defense, as well as Cal’s and Arizona State’s, they are participating in this coming weekends PAC-12 Championships and each of them left most of their top 12 players at home so those players would be fit for the PAC-12 tourney.

So Sunday set-up like this, it would be:  Central vs San Diego State, WWU vs Santa Clara, Cal vs Arizona State, and St. Mary’s vs Cal Poly.  And when the dust settled on these matches the semi finals would pit Central against Western and Cal would play St. Mary’s.

At the end of Saturday’s action it didn’t look like Western would be able to field a full team.  Several players were really banged up but to their credit, Mrs. Romano’s cooking, and a good night’s rest, they were able to come out and come out strong they did against Santa Clara.  The Vikings whipped Santa Clara like a rented mule and won going away, 31-0.

The Cal vs St Mary’s came didn’t go to form, St. Mary’s won the match and while it wasn’t easy for them, St. Mary’s were ahead the whole way.  That was not the case in the Central vs WWU match.  Western jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on Ollie Dougtery’s  long try but it didn’t take Central long to come back and hang a couple more scores on the Vikings.  Central would win 32-7.

The final pitted St. Mary’s against Central and St Mary’s had control of the match from the ‘get go’, and while Central could never seem to find their rhythm, the Wildcats did come back and make the score respectable…something like 41- 25.

There were a three of other images that really stuck in my mind.  One, the Romano family (their son Jake is one of the pillars of Western’s team) hosted all twelve players at their home in Santa Rosa which is 50 some miles up the road from Treasure Island.  By all accounts, the house was not to be believed (most of it built by Jake and his Dad) and the hospitality surpassed even the house.  To a man, each of the kids raved about what a great time they had with the Romano’s.  The Romano’s have been great supporters of the program for the last couple of years and Ellen Romano sent along the following note to us after the tournament:

“Coach Roberts and Coach Horne:

 

 Just wanted you both to know that it was an absolute pleasure to host the Sevens rugby team this weekend for the Battle of the Bay.  Wow what an incredible group of young men!  I can’t tell you how polite, helpful and easy they all were to have in our home. I am so in awe of the dedication that the boys and the entire coaching staff is putting forth to make this program what it is and I feel very fortunate to have had the pleasure to spend the weekend being a part of it.  I want to reiterate that if your back in the Bay Area we would be honored to host the team.  The group that you have assembled is truly impressive and I really appreciate everything that you are putting into WWU’s rugby program and specifically into our sons.

 

Very Sincerely – Ellen Romano

Two, the Bonovich family, from Dixon, CA,, Greg and Kristine, provided all the food, water, and Gatorade for the players both days.  The spread was incredible, cold cuts, fruit, healthy snacks, cookies, it was all there.  The Bonovich’s son Nick is a freshman this year and is going to be a key player for Western in the years to come.  They parked their motorhome at the edge of the bay on Treasure Island and in the shadow of the spectacular new Bay Bridge.  Like the Romano’s, we can’t thank them enough for their generous support.Third, and finally, the twelve guys we took down there were amazing.  They have come so far this season… At dinner Saturday night with one of the St. Mary’s coaches, we counted the number of players we lost from last year’s National Tournament team…the number is eight.  Eight players we don’t have this year, most seniors, and you look at the way our kids responded.  They got better every weekend and playing against competition like that at the “Battle In The Bay” all that hard work and effort finally paid off.  We have a team of mostly freshmen and sophomores who are only going to get better.  And if the activity around out tent this past weekend is any indication, we’ll soon see several young players from the bay area headed to Western.  Next year we could see as many as eight new students from the bay area coming to Western for their college education and to play rugby.  The flow of coaches and prospective high-school players was constant both days and visiting with them kept Coaches Adam Roberts and Paul Horne busy most of the weekend.

Thanks to everyone for your support this fall season and we would remind you all that schedule has changed a little, we won’t be playing any matches this weekend.  We will have a scrimmage this Saturday from 12-2 and then next weekend we’ll be back on the field playing 15′s and getting ready for the first NCRC 15′s match of the season against the UW, Saturday, November 23rd, in Seattle.

Cheers, and thanks again for all your support this fall…and remember this year’s motto…”We’re just getting started!.”

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Vikings 4th At NCRC’s

The day dawned dull and foggy at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon last Saturday for the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference (NCRC) 7′s Championships.  There were twelve teams there vying for the first place prize, automatic entry to the USA Rugby Collegiate National 7′s Tournament to be held in Greensboro, North Carolina, November 23-24, 2013.

The teams were divided into 4 pools with the number one seeds in each pool, Central, Oregon State, UW, and your Western Washington University Men’s Rugby Club.  Each of these clubs were expected to make it through their pool play unscathed.  At the end of pool play the top four teams would be reseeded into the quarter finals based on points differential (points for – points against).  The reseeding, like last year, yielded a surprise in that Oregon State got the first seed, While tourney favorite, Central, slipped to second.  UW was third and Western was fourth.  So Oregon State was paired with Boise State, Central drew a surprisingly strong Gonzaga side, UW faced off against Eastern Washington, and Western was matched against Oregon.

The quarters went to form in that the top four seeds won and advanced making the semis.  Western got a break here in that they ended up playing Oregon State who they’ve already beaten three times this year.  And Central drew the UW in the other semi match. Continue reading

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The Oregon State 7′s

Here is the draw for the Oregon State University 7′s which will kickoff at 10:00 am Saturday, October 5th in Corvallis:

Pool A
Central Washington
Washington
Oregon
Pacific

Pool B
Western Washington
Oregon State
Western Oregon
Willamette

Western looks to have gotten a bit of a break in the draw in that they weren’t paired with Central or the UW.  At last weekend’s Viking 7′s in Bellingham the Vikings beat the UW 12-5 in pool play but ended up the #3 seed in the brackets because of points differential, after all the teams in the Pool A ended up with 1-2 records in pool play. 

The Vikings then went on and defeated the WWU Alumni and Oregon State (26-7) to end up with 5th place in the tournament.

In the Viking 7′s CWU just barely got by UBC (19-17) and ended up losing to University of Victoria (12-10) in the final. 

UW ended up beating UBC for 3rd and 4th but UBC Coach Spence McTavish has less than his strongest side out there for the UW match. 

So both UW and Central will be trying to build off of less than satisfying performances. 

Western on the other hand had other problems…the loss of their core 7′s players from last year forced them into a different style of play early on and they just now seem to be getting comfortable with people in different positions.  Coach Adam Roberts admits the boys are ‘green’ but says, “They’re good players, they just have to figure out and get comfortable with a style that suits them.  We’ll be OK.” 

It should be a fun weekend and we’ll try and keep you updated with the scores on the WWU Facebook Fan page.  Click on the “fan page link over on the right to get to the WWU Facebook page.

 

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Wet And Wild Viking 7′s

How does that line go….”It was a dark and stormy night….”.  Well, that pretty much sums up the inaugural Viking 7′s tournament held this past Saturday on the turf field next to the Wade King Rec Center.  We were expecting a pleasant ‘Indian Summer’ day and got a winter storm instead.  No worries though, it was a turf field so no mud but the wind (gusts to 40) and the rain (several gallons per minute at times) did cause some discomfort.

Eight teams showed up for the first of what we hope will be many 7′s tournaments:  University of Victoria (UVic), University of British Columbia (UBC), Central Washington, University of Washington, University of Oregon, Oregon State, and host Western Washington University….wait a minute, that is only seven teams.  That is right folks, the team from the region of Eastern Washington, near Spokane, their campus is in Cheney actually, failed to show.  To their credit, they did call on Thursday and say they wouldn’t be coming.  That gave the tournament committee, headed by Men’s Rugby Club President Nick Solimano, a day and a half to scramble and fill the eighth spot.  And fill it they did with a team called the WWU Alumni.  Even without that team from the Eastern part of Washington, the field was one of the strongest in tournament history.

The tournament field was divided into two pools:  Pool A had UVic, Oregon, UW, and WWU.  Pool B had UBC, Central, Oregon State, and the WWU Alumni.

Play started at 10:00 am, amongst the sheets of rain and the gusts of wind, with Western taking on Oregon.  And when the dust had settled (just kidding, it’s a metaphor) Oregon had come out somewhat the surprise winner.17-12.  Figures, Ducks like this kind of weather better….  And the Pool A jumble was on.  UVic, of course, held serve and their team of almost all freshmen (but some of the best freshmen in Canada) went through pool play undefeated.  The odd thing about Pool A was that each of the other teams took turns beating each other and ended up with identical 1-2 records so seeding for the elimination brackets was base on points differential.  Continue reading

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Western Alumni Golf Tourney A Hoot…

Whalen Group

Jason Whalen and his group, including the mighty Thor…

Saturday, September 14th dawned at the Lake Padden Golf course in Bellingham, a lot like most other late summer days in the northwest..a warm, dewy, comfortable morning with a ‘marine layer’ (thin layer of clouds/fog) that promised to burn off and leave a spectacular late summer/early fall morning that would be glorious.

Mel Fish (Director of Golf) and his son Josh (Head Professional), who run the Lake Padden Golf facility, had the course in spectacular shape given the dry summer weather, and had gone out of their way in lending their expertise to Craig Brown and his committee in helping to plan and organize the first of what we hope is an annual event…the Western Rugby Alumni Golf Tournament.

The event was conceived as a way to get former Western rugby players, their friends and supporters, re-connected with old friends, the University, and ultimately, lend their support to the Rugby Alumni Association in their quest to support the WWU Men’s Rugby Club in any way possible.

Alums like former Rugby Club President Duane Roth (mid-70’s), who won the long drive contest (he drove all the way from Portland), and Jason Whalen (‘93-’98), who brought along a group that included Travis Rush (’92-’95), Matt Larson (’92-’94), and Matt Hazel (’92-’94), had a great time and vowed to return next year.  Other alums there included guys like Ron Lee, Matt North, Vince Petisme, Nathan Spiller, Darin Hamm, Ed Peterson, Mark Lombard, Bob Sullivan, Rod Fiddick, Gil James, and Wayne Means.  Alumni Board members Alex Knapp and Royle Johnson wanted to be there but Alex had another last minute commitment pop-up and Royle, who lives in Portland, couldn’t get away.

I know I’m forgetting a bunch of people but the turnout was really gratifying.  Also gratifying was the support of other rugby groups in the area like Serevi Rugby from Seattle who were ably represented by world seven’s icon, Ben Gollings.

Had this event been played in anywhere in the world but North American, Lake Padden Golf Course would have been over run by fans seeking a glimpse of Mr. Gollings.  The “Michael Jordan” of World IRB Sevens Rugby…google “ben gollings” and you’ll see why.

Also supporting the event on the corporate front were Ron Lee’s TransGroup who provided the ditty bag gifts along with Serevi Rugby.  Buying hole sponsorships were Dave Bruck’s Tryline Group, Henifin Construction, International Athletic, and Jeff Kissick’s, Kissick Enterprises.

There was also lots of local support with people like Dr. Lowell Hanson, Dave DeYoung and Mike Flannery along with a large BC contingent that included Guardian Rugby’s Marsh McDonald and program supporters Ed Perih and his wife, Lynne.

Volunteers from the WWU Men’s Rugby Club were there to help and doing everything from running the registration table, to preparing the BBQ lunch, to filling in as golfers to replace alumni had other, last minute commitments.  Sam Hobbs, Max Wright, current Men’s Rugby Club President, Nick Solimano, and a host of other players were there to make sure everything ran smoothly. Continue reading

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Ready Or Not…

Ok gentlemen, ready or not?

Summer vacation is over… Here is the schedule for the first part of the season (Please note…this schedule is tentative until field availability is confirmed with Campus Rec…but be advised that the Sept 21 & 22nd sessions will happen):

Saturday, Sept 21st: First official training session of the new season…AND…Fitness Testing

Sunday, Sept 22nd: Training session (and the first day you can move into dorms)

Monday, Sept 23rd: Training session

Wednesday, Sept 25th: First Day of Fall Term Classes…Training Session

Thursday, Sept 26th: Training Session

Saturday, September 28th: WWU 7’s Tournament – Wade King Turf Field – All day

Saturday, October 5th: @ Oregon State Invitational 7’s – Corvallis, OR – All Day

Saturday, October 12th; University of Montana (15’s) – Wade King Turf Field

Saturday, October 19th: @ NCRC 7’s Championships

Saturday, October 26th: @ Battle of the Bay 7’s – San Francisco, CA

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When You Come Up To Play In The Golf Tournament You Check Out The Work On The New Field…

new Field 7-23-2013

View from the Upper “C” lot July 23, 2013

So end new field 7-23-2013

View of the south end of the new field construction from the walkway just north of the Student Health Services bldg and looking across to Buchannon Towers and the Women’s Softball Stadium

Is this exciting or what. the work on the new field complex for rugby and soccer is really rolling along.  Construction began in late June and these pics were taken July 23, 2013.

Basically they have completely removed the grass field and all the trees between the end of the lower “C” parking lot and the Women’s Softball Stadium.  As you can see from these pictures they are well along in removing the ‘mesa’ of dirt left.  In fact, talking to people who have been by there in the last week, almost all of that dirt is gone as well.

It appears the project is on schedule…hold your breath and pray for continued dry weather…

Plan on taking a look at the project when you come up to play in the golf tournament September 14th.  What?  You haven’t signed up for the golf tournament yet?  Get with it..you only have a month before it is here/

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Happy Campers…

2013 WWU Campus Rec Services Summer Rugby Campers

2013 WWU Campus Rec Services Summer Rugby Campers

Happy Campers…

WWU Campus Recreation Services runs summer programs from the Wade King Center that provide instruction in sports that are not offered as part the Athletic Department’s summer camp schedule.  This year Campus Rec Services added a week long rugby camp that ran from July 8th through the 12th.

There were close to thirty-five young people who signed up and when all was said and done, there were 32 young rugby players on the Wade King turf field ready to go Monday morning, July 8th.  The campers came from all over the Northwest and BC, and there were three campers from California. 

Most of the campers were enrolled in the ‘residential’ program. Living in the dorms and eating in the residence hall dining room, while the rest were part of the ‘commuter’ option, those players being dropped off in the morning and picked up at the end of each day.

Campus Rec Services staff, Assistant Director Adam Leonard and Sports Club Coordinator, Clark Cripps took care of setting up all the “off-field” arrangements like residence halls, and dining, while the rugby part was run by WWU Men’s Rugby Club Coaches Paul Horne and Adam Roberts with help of guest instructors and members of the WWU Men’s Rugby Club team.

From all accounts, the camp was a huge success on all fronts.  The campers generally spent the morning and the early part of the afternoon working on rugby related skills and techniques and how to use those skills in offense and defense, as well as strategy and tactics sessions.  Also included in the program were sessions on weight training, nutrition, and overall general fitness.

The late afternoon was reserved for other less challenging recreational opportunities and team building exercises using WWU’s Lakewood facility at Lake Whatcom and other campus locations.

The campers had the benefit of some world class instruction with current USA National Team members Shawn Pittman and Nick Wallace, both former Bellingham residents and Chuckanut Bay Rugby Club players, who were in town for the first three days and were happy to help with the camp.

Even though it was the first year for the camp both Coach Horne and Coach Roberts were really excited about how the camp played out.  Both coaches have run summer camps in the past and if the enthusiasm show by this years campers is any indication, there will be many more campers signing up for future editions.

In fact, a couple of the California kids, who had been to many rugby camps over the years including the Cal and UCLA camps, said that this was the best rugby camp they’d ever been to and they would be spreading the word about the WWU Summer Rugby Camp.

Keep all of this in mind if you know a young person interested in bettering their rugby skills and knowledge and get them to signup for next year’s camp.  As one of the California campers put it, “…this place is really cool…”.

 

 

 

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